Sure, every wedding registry's got a food processor and stand mixer on the list, and both are invaluable tools in the kitchen, but there are other fancy-pants tools that help make preparing great food more fun. Easier, prettier, more foolproof. Your giftee might not require a $300 Dutch oven, but if they've been extra good this year, you should consider spoiling them. Every item on this list is something I use in my own kitchen at least once a week, if not every single day, and most I've had for years and plan on using for the rest of my life.
I'm generally a purist when it comes to food—I'll take my burgers with onions and pickles and my cookies with chocolate chips, thank you—but I make exceptions now and then, especially when they involve Brussels sprouts, easily my favorite fall vegetable. On the menu today: Brussels sprout grilled cheese sandwiches.
Essential doesn't have to mean expensive! This is my list of kitchen gear that you can buy for under $50 and will use not just occasionally, but all the time. You won't find any odd unitaskers here or overly specialized gadgetry, just solid tools for real cooks who cook a variety of foods every day. What's more, all of these tools should last you years and years down the line.
Tenderloin is infamous for its ultra-tender texture, extreme leanness, and very mild flavor. While the more robust flavor of bison adds a bit to the flavor department, even a bison tenderloin can benefit from a good spice rub to amp it up. The mildly smoky, raisin-like intensity of ancho chili powder will do nicely.
I woke up in the middle of the night the other day with an idea: what if I were to combine the concept of a Hasselback potato—that array of crisp ridges at the top—with a creamy potato gratin, the king of all casseroles? I went into the kitchen and got to work on the first batch of what would end up being my favorite potato recipe in years.
If there's one kitchen equipment question I get more than any other, it's this one: What is the best chef's knife? The honest answer? There is no such thing as a "best chef's knife." It'd be like asking a violinist to name the "best violin" or an architect to identify the "best material." There are many factors that come into play, and depending on what type of cook you are and how your hands, body, and wallet are shaped, you might opt for one over another. Here are some things to consider, and nine of my top recommendations for a variety of cooking styles.
My personal "essentials" lists evolve slowly over time based on not only minor refinements in selection or new product availability, but also on my own cooking style. It's impossible for me to tell you that the pots and pans that I use the most will be the same as the pots and pans you'll use the most. But I can tell you this: I cook a lot, and I cook a wide variety of things, and with these pots and pans in my arsenal, I never find myself saying, "man, I wish I just had [insert pan X here]. Nearly every recipe on this site can be cooked in a kitchen equipped with these bad boys, so if you or a loved one has been extra nice this year, listen up!
The items on this list are perfect for those friends and family who are just starting out with a new (or improved) kitchen. The absolute most essential gear with no frills, no extras, and nothing that won't get used over and over and over again for years to come.
The prime rib is the roast that has most often graced my family's holiday table in various states of increasing deliciousness (I mean, you should see the overcooked, under-browned, dried up, flavorless things we used to eat!), and the one that most represents the holidays to me. It only makes sense that I've invested considerable time, effort, and BTUs in inching my cooking technique closer and closer to optimal. Here is the state of the affairs in the Prime Rib Universe as they stand today.
Turkey soup is all well and good for the day after Thanksgiving, and what's more, it's a snap to make. But sometimes I don't feel like making things snappy. Sometimes I feel like investing a bit more time into my scraps. Sometimes I feel like I want my home to smell like simmering turkey broth for an entire day before I get to dig into the fruits of my labor (or really, the fruits of my stove's labor, because it does the lion's share of work in this recipe). Enter Turkey Paitan Ramen.
Last week we asked you to send in all your Thanksgiving questions and you came through! Here are the answers to all the questions that came in by the deadline.
There are any number of reasons you might have for not wanting to roast an entire turkey for Thanksgiving, but nobody should be deprived of juicy meat, crispy skin, and turkey-saturated stuffing on that day, am I right?
In a world where cheeseburger potato chips exist, why, oh why has nobody created a stuffing-flavored chip yet?
New York's not in any danger yet of becoming oversaturated with Isan-style Thai restaurants the way it was oversaturated with too many gloppy-pad-thai-and-cashew-chicken spots a few years ago (some would argue that even one such restaurant is an oversaturation), but they're sure becoming more and more prevalent. For lovers of the sticky rice and spicy salad-heavy cuisine, this is a good thing. Since Somtum Der opened a couple months ago, I've been in four times and have tried a good chunk of the menu. Here are my thoughts on the best dishes and what to avoid.
My mother claims to love the original green bean casserole, created by Campbell's in 1955 to help sell their cream of mushroom soup. You know, the kind where you mix a can of soup with a can of green beans, top it off with canned fried onions and bake it? Here's my opinion: We can do better. Whether we upgrade just the canned green beans to fresh, or go all out and make our own creamy mushroom sauce and fry our own onions (or shallots, as the case may be), it's a dish that's tasty enough to be worth a bit of extra effort.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life dumps random fleshy bits of animal protein on your cutting board, you make sausage. Doesn't it sound so appealing when you say it like that? How about if we say that we're going to take that otherwise lean, bland, and generally dry turkey tenderloin and transform it into something deeply seasoned, snappy, and juicy? Better? Good. Let's get going.
The key to a successful Thanksgiving is planning. Know what needs to get done, when it needs to be done, and how much manpower and time it's going to take you. There's no better way to derail a calm evening by scrambling at the last minute to make sure your turkey is cooked through, or the gravy isn't burning. There are many theories as to when to prep each individual item, but here's my own schedule of events, starting three weeks before Thanksgiving.
I generally don't like to apply the terms deconstructed/reconstructed to food because it makes me feel like I'm working on a recipe for a burn victim or perhaps a Brundlefly, but I suppose this recipe fits the bill. It's most of the flavors of a traditional green bean casserole—green beans, onions, and mushrooms—minus the cream, and put together in a less stodgy, altogether tastier way.
It's simple: stuffing is my favorite thing, and my favorite part of stuffing is the crispy edge bits. How can we maximize those crispy edge bits? Enter the waffle iron.
Not sure how to carve your bird? Never fear—this quick step-by-step slideshow and video will take you through all the steps. You will be the hero of the Thanksgiving table.
With a New York-sized kitchen and apartment but a full-sized family, it takes a bit of careful planning to make sure the food all goes off without a hitch. Here are some tips I've picked up over the years.
Pearl onions don't have quite the sweetness of their larger counterparts, or even of the candy-sweet cipollini or shallots, but they do have a similar bite. What does this mean for cooking them? It means that the best pearl onion recipes are ones that tame the bite while bringing out the natural flavor of the onions without relying on them to provide much sweetness.
Some vegetables are better frozen, while other vegetables fall under the category of not necessarily better when frozen, but still-good-enough-to-use-if-it-means-saving-time-and-effort. Pearl onions seem to fall under this latter category. I've never heard anyone insist that frozen ones are better, but I've certainly heard folks recommend them in a pinch. So the question: are frozen onions an acceptable substitute (or even a better option) for fresh?
Ok folks, it's that time of year again. Got any burning questions about not burning your potatoes? How about how to guarantee perfectly moist turkey? Want side dish menu selections, or perhaps you just need someone to talk to? Here's your chance to get all your Thanksgiving questions answered.
Spatchcocking delivers breast meat juicier than a standard roast turkey, leg meat more tender than a standard roast turkey, and skin that's so crisp it literally shatters when you poke it, all in about half the time it takes to roast a conventional turkey. A perfect Thanksgiving bird on the table in under 90 minutes? Watch the video to see how it's done.
What kind of turkey should I buy? What size? How far in advance? And what the heck do I do with it once it's at home? All of these burning questions and more, straight ahead.
Here's one late night sandwich that isn't a greasebomb. Good for lunch as well.
A few months ago, my wife and I spent all of 24 hours in Naples on our way home from Sicily. It was probably the second-most pizza-packed 24 hours of my life (the first being when I took my Colombian brother-in-law on a whirlwind pizza tour of New York). We hit over a half dozen pizzerias over lunch alone, and a few more for dinner. Here now, I present to you the Serious Eats guide to Eating Pizza in Naples.
Ever made a traditional Peking duck? Turns out it's a pretty involved process, requiring not only multiple steps but multiple days, cooking apparatuses, and spices. The end result: an incredibly crispy, juicy bird that's seriously delicious. Come along with Serious Eats's own Carey Jones as she learns how to make Peking Duck. Chef Brian Ray of Buddakan gives us the grand tour.
We're looking at what I like to call the "Big 3" of Cheerios: Original, Honey Nut and MultiGrain. Any die-hard original Cheerios fans out there? Can we talk about the awesomeness of Honey Nut and MultiGrain?
Last week, we examined the distinction between single malt and blended Scotch whiskies. Today, we'll step back a bit and take a more detailed (much more detailed) look at the single malt. I'll describe what single malts are, explain how they're made and aged, discuss the concept of Scotch terroir, and explore some of the regional variations. Grab a tasting glass and let's get started!
Uh oh. The buzzer rings. Friends are coming over to spread holiday cheer and you panic. Serve frozen dumplings...again?! You can do better than that. Print out this list of easy-to-assemble, stress-free, mostly-sub-20-minutes-to-prepare munchies and paste it to the fridge. Here are 60+ dips, hors d'oeuvres, small bites, toasty snacks, sweet nibbles, appetizers, and more festive munchies to prepare in a snap.
The Serious Eats Cookie Swap has become an annual tradition. We break out the Duane Reade tinsel and twinkle lights, and are forced to do a major office detox to make room for cookies. Many, many cookies. (OK, maybe a dozen doughnuts snuck in this year too). It was our third year swapping, and as per tradition, the tables were covered with butter-laden treats. Our NYC-based contributors really pulled out their ninja baking skills. Get all the recipes here.
Our recipe for Bacon Banh Mi brings our favorite Vietnamese sandwich home, swapping out the usual array of cold cuts and charcuterie for bacon but staying true to the other elements that make this sandwich so balanced and irresistible.
When you think about Thanksgiving and you think about various elements of the Thanksgiving meal, it seems like you're just waiting through the big meal to get to the pie. I really believe this, which is why I always fantasized about an all-pie Thanksgiving. (Anyone with me on this?) At an editorial meeting about a month ago, we were at the office talking about Thanksgiving coverage and I shared this fantasy with the team. Knowing how much I adore and obsess over pie, the Serious Eats editors weren't too shocked, so we did the only thing we know how to do: make it happen.
Urban legend has it that some industrial candy snafu botched the names of 3 Musketeers and Milky Way. The tale has a certain logic. 3 Musketeers doesn't have three ingredients but Milky Way does. And the very name Milky Way recalls the smooth, uninterrupted creaminess found in 3 Musketeers. Those kinds of wonky urban legends ran amok in the eighties, but we have the internet now, so let's clear this stuff up. It's not a tasty tabloid tale of "Switched at Birth!" but rather "Murder, She Wrote."
When you first joined me in my quest to unlock the secrets of culinary time travel, I told you it would take equal parts science and magic to make the foods that could power the flux capacitor of the mind. I said, "leave the DeLorean in the garage, preheat your oven to one point twenty one gigawatts, and rev that Kitchen Aid to eighty eight mph. We're going back to the Eighties." And we did. But while there, what if some careless action altered our timeline? Could we, like Marty McFly, inadvertently create an alternate universe? One where the Keebler Soft Batch Cookie tastes freaking delicious? Friends, this isn't speculation. I have done such a thing.
Dried mango was matched up with cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno to make this juicy chicken link. It's bright, fresh, and fruity.
[Photograph: Kenji Alt] Want more details? Here are the ins-n-outs. Follow Kenji on Facebook or Twitter....
This week we survived a salt and vinegar chips tasting (try feeling your tongue after one of those!), played fetch with Hambone, special-ordered the semi-discontinued Rice Krispies Treats Cereal, and more. And if you're wondering, yes, RKTC would be RK cereal that turned into treats then transformed back into cereal again (full circle!).
This week at Serious Eats World Headquarters, we ate loads of chocolate sandwich cookies for our Oreo/Faux-reo taste test, filled up our office with Sandwich Festival goods, watched Ed attempt to feed Hambone, and more (and by "more" we mean "Hambone Hambone Hambone").
I'm not sure how else to break this except to just come out and say it. On Wednesday morning, my French bulldog Dumpling was struck by a bus outside of my apartment building. He died in my arms on the way to the emergency room.
This week at Serious Eats World Headquarters, Dumpling napped and drooled, a swarm of bees took shelter in a nearby mailbox, I confirmed I don't like absinthe, and a few of us met some cows (ok, that last one happened far, far away from SEHQ). The slideshow is 75 percent Dumpling in one way, 125 percent in another. Enjoy!
This "Memphis-style" is my favorite to make at home—it takes the aspects of sweet tomato-based sauces I grew up on, but by dialing back the sugar and amping up the vinegar, creates a sauce where seasonings and spice are more defined and achieves a pleasing balance between the main defining aspects of a barbecue sauce.
These are the only fancy-restaurant fried clams I think are really worth the cash ($14 half/$26 full). That they start with Ipswich bellies makes all the difference; these juicy, sweet, whole-belly behemoths are harvested from the mud flats off Ipswich, where experts claim that the particularly nutrient-rich soil gives the bivalves their superior, almost nutty flavor.
Sherbets and sorbets require a spoon, but they date back to the Persian Empire, when vividly flavored fruit- or flower-based syrups were mixed with snow to make a cool, refreshing drink called sharbat.
Last Thursday morning, Dean Sparks, a dairy farmer from upstate New York stopped by the office with some cheese, eggs, and milk. They come from nymilk, a New York state consortium of around 35 upstate organic dairy farms that...
As food aesthetics go, the murky, rust-brown, pebbly lalla musa dal at Tamarind Bay Coastal Kitchen can't compare to the restaurant's other specialties like the fennel cream-sauced cauliflower dumplings or the spiced lobster tail. But famed Indian chefs like Julie Sahni don't consider this dish "the most exquisite of all dal preparations" for nothing, and speaking in terms of decadence, it outclasses the rest by a long shot.
For all that I've grilled (150-plus recipes and counting), there's always plenty of uncharted territory. One of those areas: planking. There aren't usually many planking recipes in cookbooks, save the ubiquitous planked salmon. Put simply, planking is cooking food directly on a piece of hardwood. When cooking this way, the surface of the food touching the wood picks up some of the plank's natural flavors.
I don't use the word magical lightly, but there really is something wondrous about making bagels at home. Maybe it's the shape. I think most everyone understands a loaf of bread, but the round shape with a hole ... well, it seems like a whole lot more work than simply plopping some dough in a loaf pan. But it's not. Really. Try making just one batch of these, and I'm sure you'll have the process down pat. Put on your sorcerer's robe and follow along!