These are my knives. There are many like them, but these ones are mine. Now I may take my love of knives to the extreme—I collect them like stamps—but every chef I've ever met who's worth his or her salt is proud of their knives. These are a mix of the ones I use the most often, the ones that have the most sentimental value for me, and the ones that I think are just plain cool.
When Spanish-style garlic shrimp is done perfectly, when the shrimp are juicy and tender with a crunchy pop, when the oil sings with a chorus of layered garlic flavors, it can be transcendent. That's what we're after today.
You may think bay leaves are optional, but I'll tell you why they make a difference, along with why you should use dry instead of fresh.
The winter has been especially harsh this year, and especially harsh conditions call for especially hearty meals. This short rib and barley stew with carrots and kale not only soothes the soul and warms the cockles of your heart (or if you're really lucky, both at the same time), it's also ridiculously easy to make.
There's nothing much more depressing than discovering that what once was a heap of crisp-on-the-outside-fluffy-in-the-middle, potatoey treats has become a uniformly mushy, grease-laden mound of sadness. And that's really what old, soggy fries are. But no more. For I have discovered what might be the absolute best way to reheat fries: in the waffle iron.
This year during The Vegan Experience, I focussed almost exclusively on recipes. I'm proud of them, but it did mean that I had very few opportunities to go out and eat. I tried to make the best of it when I did, and with that in mind, here are my ten favorite vegan bites and restaurants in Manhattan.
I've been a fan of Ryan Farr, the proprieter and butcher at 4505 Meats in San Francisco, ever since I took my first bite of his transcendent breakfast sandwich from their stand at the Ferry Plaza Market. In a world of sub-par sausages made from excellent meat, here is a man who really has his technique nailed down, I thought to myself. The maple sausage patty was perfectly juicy, with a springy, meaty bite, and just the right level of salt. It's everything you look for in a good sausage. Check out the awesome hot dogs he made in our own kitchen.
Years of overcooked, lean pork has given pork chops a bad rap. But the times they are a-changin', and things are looking up for pork. For one thing, we now have relatively easy access to much better meat. We also have much safer pork—pork that can be eaten at a juicy medium or medium-rare, the way it was meant to be. On top of all that, we're in a virtual renaissance in terms of novel cooking techniques; better, smarter ways to maximize the flavor and texture of a pork chop. Today we're going to discuss a few of those techniques and see if we can't nail down the best.
Sandwiches are one of my weekend lunch staples when I'm on a vegan diet, and I'm always looking for new delicious fillings. This time around? Crispy, herb-packed chickpea patties, topped with a bright slaw flavored with tahini and lemon juice. Think of it as falafel in a completely different (but equally delicious) format.
Celebrate Fat Tuesday in style with these New Orleans-inspired foods. From muffulettas to po' boys and all the seafood in between, we've got your Mardi Gras party covered.
They're called "Sofritas," they're made of tofu, they're 100 percent vegan, and they're pretty darn delicious. The saucy, crumbled, sausage-like filling, which can be ordered in any of Chipotle's burritos, tacos, or salads, has thus far been available in select markets, mainly on the West Coast. Today, Chipotle announced that starting March 3, they'd be expanding its availability to both coasts and several markets in between, with plans to roll it out across the country in the works. It's the first nationwide new menu item the company has introduced since its inception.
It's tough to convince my mom that vegan food is not all just a series of side dishes, or that salad on its own does not have to be a side dish. What I can do is try to stuff her with vegetables and salads that are so darn delicious that she'll stop thinking of them as sides and start thinking of them as what they are: meals unto themselves. This Roasted Chickpea and Kale Salad is a good place to start.
We tasted four nationally available egg-free vegan mayonnaise products, alongside one conventional brand, to see how they'd stack up. The results took us completely by surprise.
You saw this recipe coming, didn't you? I mean, I showed a picture of it in my post about Vegan Mushroom "Bacon". Given that I already have a recipe for vegan mayonnaise and that my mom recently gave me a few of those surprisingly-not-terrible Campari winter tomatoes, it was in the stars.
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: the goal here is not to try and recreate bacon out of vegetables. Rather, the aim is to create something that can sate any bacon craving, hitting the right texture and flavor notes: crispy, a little greasy, a nice balance of sweet and salty, intensely savory, and smoky.
I used to hate all things eggplant. Until I had my first taste of really great baba ganoush. It was made by a good friend of mine, an Israeli line cook who'd take time out of her afternoon to hover over the eggplants slowly charring over the open flames of the kitchen's burners, waiting until they were meltingly tender, before recruiting me to carefully peel them before she'd mix them up with lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and olive oil. The resulting dip was simultaneously smoky, savory, bright, and creamy...and I was addicted.
Building up a strong vegan pasta dish isn't all that different from building a non-vegan pasta dish. Here, the pasta is, of course, the star. The rest is just made up of a few supermarket staples—plum tomatoes, lots of garlic, olives, and bread crumbs—that, with just a bit of care and attention paid to concentrating and layering their flavors, can be transformed into something remarkably complex and intense.
Things I love: Tofu, spicy food, peanuts, stir-frying, celery, my wife, crispy things, chilies, and a strongly-flavored but subtly balanced sauce that combine funky fermented elements, heat, rich umami-packedingredients, bright vinegar, and a hint of sweetness. I've recently discovered a way to get eight out of nine of these things together in one place: crispy kung pao tofu.
I've been recently accused of being on a junk food kick here on The Vegan Experience. Nachos, mac and cheese, and fried plantains with guacamole are all super-tasty fare, but not exactly the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Hopefully this hearty meal-sized salad will satisfy your whole grain and vegetable cravings.
As a New Yorker, I'm unfit to make the call on whether or not we have the best pizza in the world. It's against my basic upbringing to even entertain the notion that our pizza, bagels, pastrami, and hot dogs aren't the best. But if you, as a visitor to our fair city, want to make the call for yourself, you should start by getting the best that the city has to offer.
Last week we came up with a recipe for a 100% vegan nacho sauce that is as rich, creamy, and tasty as the real thing. This week, we're adapting that recipe to work for a creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese.
I've said it in the past: there is no dish that is better designed for sharing than a pile of nachos, but here's the thing: most of my friends are not vegan. So where does this leave me? I could take the hard-core route and decide that I need new friends, but that's a) crazy, b) stupid, c) classless, d) mean, e) snooty, and other adjectives as well. No. A much better solution is this one: Make vegan nachos so damn good that everybody will want to get in on the action, vegan or not.
I'm not all that fond of baked potatoes on their own, but baked potatoes with cheesy sauce and tiny broccoli florets is another story entirely. I love smooshing the sauce into the fluffy potato below, turning what was once dry and bland into something creamy and exciting. During my vegan month, it's not quite so easy a goal to accomplish. At least it wasn't, until I developed my Vegan Nacho Cheese recipe. Now, it's a piece of cake.
There's a reason my wife married me, and surprisingly, it's got nothing to do with my debonair charm, my rugged good looks, or my dashing sense of adventure. No. She married me on the promise of cheese sauce. My month of hard-core veganism makes living up to this promise difficult, so I decided to tackle the problem head-on. The goal? To develop a recipe for a nacho sauce that is every bit as creamy, gooey, and smother-worthy as the real deal.
You know that episode of Friends where Ross sticks a piece of gravy-soaked bread in the middle of his sandwich and calls it the moist maker? It sounds goofy, but it does hit on a key element of good sandwiches: they must be moist to be delicious. This time, rather than using a single moist maker, I'm going with a selection of three moderately moist ingredients—sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and sun-dried tomato mayo—that together combine to make a synergistic Captain Planet-like explosion of moistness, all neatly contained in a crisp griddled crust.
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!