Just submitted my PhD thesis and enjoying the vacation! Love cooking and baking while searching for jobs...

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Last bite on earth: There are far too many things that I love that I can't choose at the moment!

Bake the Book: The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking

Definitely monkey bread. And also any yeasted bread made gluten free would be amazing!!

I need a lemon filling for Pączki (donut)

I agree with sourdough's comment above - lemon curd works like a charm as a filling! If you need to make some there's a really easy recipe by Nigel Slater:

Cook the Book: 'Serious Eats'

Most definitely no-knead pizza dough by Kenji. I haven't ordered takeout/delivery pizza since I've discovered that recipe!

Weekend Cook and Tell: Cranberry Confidential

The best cranberry cake that I've tasted (so far) comes from Smitten Kitchen - her cranberry vanilla coffee cake is absolutely amazing! Plus, it's not that difficult to make, which means I make it far too often...

What to do with chestnuts

How about marrons glaces (candied chestnuts)? They take a bit of time to make but they're so good! This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

750g sweet chestnuts (skin on)
500g granulated sugar
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 vanilla pod
450g granulated sugar

1. With a sharp knife, make a couple of nicks across the pointed end of each chestnut. Place all the chestnuts in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile put 500g granulated sugar in a pan with 250ml water. Heat slowly, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, then add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil.

3. Remove the chestnuts from the heat. Have ready a bowl of warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice in it. It is important to remove only one chestnut at a time from the pan of hot water: peel back the thick leathery skins and the thin papery inner skin of each nut, to reveal the golden kernel inside. Drop each peeled chestnut into the bowl of acidulated water. When the chestnuts are all shelled, drain and dry them thoroughly.

4. Drop the chestnuts into the hot sugar syrup. Bring up to a simmer and cook gently for 25-30 minutes or until tender (the time will depend on the size of the chestnuts).

5. Meanwhile, prepare the final glaze by putting the 450g sugar and 150ml water in a small pan. Heat slowly, stirring, to dissolve the sugar, then boil for 5 minutes.

6. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chestnuts from their cooking syrup and place them on a wire cooling rack. Add the chestnutty cooking syrup to the glaze syrup and bring back to the boil. Then remove from the heat.

7. Put a small bowl over a pan of simmering water. Pour a little of the glazing syrup into the bowl, so it stays hot. Have ready a second small bowl with freshly boiled water in it. Using a skewer, take a chestnut. Dunk it first in the hot water, then swizzle it in the hot sugar syrup in the bowl. Place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with all the chestnuts, topping up the bowl of syrup with more syrup from the pan if you need to. Leave the chestnuts to dry in a warm airing cupboard or a very, very low oven (around 50°C) for 10-12 hours. Then wrap each chestnut in a twist of greaseproof paper.

Rice Cookers: Talk To Me! I Eat Rice! I Need a New One

I recommend Zojirushi too. There are lots of different types of electric rice makers in Korea but my parents always had Zojirushi (10-cup size, different versions over the years) and I've got a little baby one (3-cup) for whenever I'm away from my parents' place. Never failed on me, and I also cook all sorts of rice (jasmine, long grain white, long grain brown, basmati, sushi, etc.).

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Oh, he's adorable!! Welcome to SE, Hambone!

Crock Pot Crisis

Hey @BitchinFixins, when I lived in the UK I bought a crock pot (or slow cooker) from - I know they ship within the EU so you should try there. But I do remember when I first got to England (in 2005) slow cookers weren't that common. I think the whole recession thing kick-started the "cooking with cheaper cuts of meat and therefore need a slow cooker" thing.

As for the pulled pork there are excellent suggestions above...

New website issues

Love the new colours! One thing I've noticed is that when I use my netbook (10" screen as opposed to a typical laptop 13"/15"/17" screen) the top title gets mushed with the header stories. So the words "Serious Eats" with the logo is placed on top of "What's hot" photographs...

And I agree with @gingercookiewithlime and others - white writing on top of orange banner (overlaying What's hot photographs) isn't the best colour combination.

Other than that, I think the site looks better! Well done!

Goodbye, Dumpling

Definitely tearing up. So sorry for your loss, Kenji. Dumpling was an important part (at least to me) of Serious Eats as one of the cutest mascots ever!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Congrats for (another) successful office move!

And I concur with others - LOVE the Dumpling shots. :)

crustless bread?

I've started seeing those from about two years ago in my local Sainsburys. I Very weird, but I think if you've got a picky eater (or a crustless sandwich fan?) then it might be worth it.

Short on cash but not on standards.

I feel your pain (almost finished with PhD and no job yet!)... I tend to make a big batch of soup and a large pot of bolognese (and large bags of cheap pasta) and live on that for a while. And I bake a loaf of bread, which can accompany most meals and fills you up. You can also make chilli, bulk it out with beans. Fried rice with whatever's in your fridge/freezer is another cheap option.

Wish you all the best!

eating alone

I do enjoy eating out alone - that's when I really spoil myself. As long as I've got a good magazine or a book, I'm good to go! Or if I'm empty-handed (in terms of reading material) then I sit at the bar, rather than at a table.

Holy Friggin' Vinegar, Woman! What else are you obsessed with?

Cheeses, different types of rice and pasta (last count there were more than 25 bags!)...


That's awesome. Just sent in the request as well...

So Long, Folks (and See You Next Week)

Thanks for all the great work you've done at SE - and glad to know that you're not leaving us forever! :) Looking forward to more of your posts in the near future, and good luck with your new position!

Do you measure ingredients when you cook?

When I'm cooking I usually don't measure. But when I'm baking I measure absolutely everything.

Overcooked salmon

I second salmon cakes/patties idea. Add some chopped chilies and herbs...

Election Night Eats

I'm baking an apple pie for post-midnight results snacking...

First Visit To Paris-Where to Eat?

Also, have a browse through David Lebovitz's blog. One of the best food blogs out there and some amazing Parisian restaurant recommendations.

Canadian Eats?

It's really hard to find cheese curd in the UK (I've tried!), so it'd be difficult to make (good) poutine. How about Nanaimo bars or butter tarts? Or beaver tails?

Japanese Snacks: Gummy Candies

I agree, muscat is the best Kasugai gummy flavour ever! Memories of childhood - I think I need to go shopping for these later on...

Cross-Border Shopping Guide: Canada

Oh, Serious Eats, you made my day by featuring the Canadian products! I've sent 6 years living in Oxford, UK and have now returned back to Canada, and I'm thoroughly loving the large grocery stores, the cheaper prices, and the huge variety of products...

Creme Brulee

@ByrdBrain me too! I love the custard bit, and (especially if I'm eating alone) I won't bother making the sugar crust. If I have guests then I'll make the crust with light muscovado sugar.

Growing veg: reference books

Dear Seriouseaters, hope you're having a relaxing Sunday. I'm currently finishing off my PhD thesis and will move back to (southern Ontario) Canada soon. Whilst I can't wait to return to my home country, I'm going to really miss my friend's allotment that I shared with her this year. So I'm going to make use of my parents' enormous garden, and plant lots of veg there next year.

My question is, do you have any good veg-growing reference book that you could recommend? I'm sure the growing seasons aren't that much different between southern England and southern Ontario (in fact, I think southern Ontario has longer and warmer growing season) but I'd like to have a reference book handy... Thanks in advance!

Are you growing your own fruit & veg?

Hello Serious Eaters, I wanted to know whether anyone here grows his/her own fruit & veg? I've never grown anything before, but earlier this year I've managed to get a little patch on my friend's allotment and have sown beetroot, shallots, swiss chard, rockets, etc... And I'm so proud to say that they're all growing (and I have managed to pull out weeds only and leave the edible plants behind)!! Needless to say I'm very excited about this fall.

So, have you got serious green thumbs? What's the best dish you've made out of your own produce? Or have you had a real flop and haven't had a harvest?

Breakup food - aka heartache healing food...

Hello all, looking for your wisdom here - what kind of food do you recommend for someone who's going through a relationship meltdown/breakup/heartache time? Comfort food or junk food? I (there's no point in pretending this is someone else other than myself, right?) tend to drink an extra glass (or two) of wine and start craving carbs when I can finally get myself out of bed, but I was wondering if anyone else craved other types of food? This whole end of year breakup thing is quite cliche, I know, but I'm trying to be brave here and concentrate on something that makes me feel good - cooking & food! Thanks in advance...

Hmm, homemade sloe gin...with a bug!

I've picked some sloe berries over the weekend, washed, picked the best ones and now made sloe gin. I was so looking forward to pouring out the beautiful pink liquid in December and enjoying it.

However, while I was shaking the bottle today, I saw a sloe berry with a bug half-sticking out of it! Eww, usually I'm not very icky about bugs but this is a bit gross. Is it okay to drink this later? Shall I pretend that I didn't see this?

Where do you buy your spices from? London/Oxford UK

After a trip to Istanbul last year and bringing back hoards of amazing spices, I'm not quite satisfied with what I find in my local supermarket... And now I'm in need of some Ras-el-Hanout spice mix (I know, I know, but I'm currently writing up my thesis and don't have time to make it up every time) and wondered where I can find a good, reputable spice dealer around Oxford or London (somewhere nice and close to the Tube line if in London, please) or somewhere in between those two, UK? Thanks in advance...

You Asked The Food Lab 164 Questions. Here Are 164 Answers

Yesterday I told you I'd answer every single question you asked me. I thought to myself, "hey, here's an easy way to do a fun column this week without time to get into the kitchen. This'll be a snap! Dear Serious Eaters, I severely underestimated you and your ability to ask fun, challenging, downright thoughtful questions. It's been a hard day's night, but I finally got through 'em all. More

Rainbow Layer Cake

A six-layer cake in all the colors of the rainbow, this one is dramatic to cut into and always seems to elicit an "oooooooh" response. It is impossible to be unhappy while eating this cake. More

Bread Baking: Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf

This is a nice sandwich loaf that's got a higher percentage of white to whole wheat than I usually use, but it's a little lighter and fluffier than you'd expect, thanks to the potato flakes. It's also an easy loaf to make. Since gluten develops during the long overnight rest in the refrigerator, it requires just a little kneading. The overnight cold rest also helps develop flavor, so not only is it an easy loaf, it's also tasty. More

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

The bay leaves give these artichokes a subtle woodsy, almost piney flavor, and you can really taste the citrus and spice. They would be perfect in salads, as a pizza topping, or as part of an antipasti platter. This recipe... More

How to Make Bagels at Home

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! More

Pizza Protips: Converting Dough Recipes to Hand Kneading

If you've found an intriguing recipe that requires a food processor or stand mixer, you can convert that recipe to hand kneading without too much trouble. The first thing that changes is the amount of time it will take to knead the dough enough to properly develop the gluten. You'll also need the change the order in which you incorporate ingredients. More

Favorite food-related memoirs? (And ones to avoid)

I love food-related memoirs (note: not cookbooks). I can eat vicariously (and calorie free!) through the experiences of others and garner non-cookbook inspiration. Examples include Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl's trifecta, and Jacques Pepin. But not every food memoir is great... More

Homemade Pizza Rolls

I love a challenge. When I was urged to create a recipe for homemade pizza rolls for a Super Bowl snack, I knew it'd be an interesting project. They come with the same warning: this filling is molten hot. More

Pizza Protips: Kneading, Man vs. Machine

Can a food processor or mixer replace kneading by hand? Using a machine to do your kneading changes the final product. While a food processor or a stand mixture does a fine job of developing the gluten in dough, neither one of them perfectly mimics the motion of hand-kneading. There are a few other differences as well. More

Apple Cake

If you simply don't feel like dealing with the crown of apples at all, feel free to bake the cake in a greased 12-cup bundt pan. Once baked, cool the cake in the bundt for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. More

Chocolate Chickpea Cake

This is a very dense, not-too-sweet cake with a nice chocolatey flavor. It's also pretty healthy, packing tons of fiber from the garbanzos and protein from the eggs, and is actually a really nice breakfast sweet. It keeps well in... More

Pizza Protips: Is It Ready Yet?

When it comes to yeasted dough recipes, the one measuring tool that's least useful is the clock. To fine-tune the timing there are other ways to tell whether your pizza or bread dough is ready to move on to the next stage. More

Pizza Protips: Additions to Your Dough

While pizza purists among us might say that adding anything except the basic ingredients to pizza dough is wrong, sometimes the urge to experiment gets in the way of tradition. If you're going to start flinging things into your pizza dough, you might as well do it armed with a little bit of knowledge about what might happen. More

Pizza Protips: Pre-Ferments

Maybe the thing I like best about breadmaking is that it accommodates my lazy, forgetful, procrastinating self. Good bread can't be rushed. Great bread likes to hang around and chill. It likes to loaf just as much as I do. More

Bread Baking: Speedy Honey Buns

This dough is sweet enough that you could use it for cinnamon rolls, but without the cinnamon/sugar combo these resemble dinner rolls I've had at some barbecue restaurants. Pizza yeast gives these a quick rise, while honey adds flavor. More