No Tools? No Experience? No Problem. How I Hacked an Ace Barbecue Smoker

@TerrenceDoyle- Nice work on the build and a very nice thing you did for your dad.

Please excuse my obnoxiousness,but I must address this issue as others have:

Brisket served "well done" @ 165-170?? I don't understand,even limited internet searches regarding smoking brisket show you to render fat and soften the meat,you must overcook it to 195ish-205ish range.

I think the look your dad gave you was more like "Oh,cute,you tried so hard but I don't have the heart to tell you how a brisket should have been cooked".

This is more like a Food52 article,rather than SE material.

C'mon man,you have Josh Bousel at your fingerprints. At least check with your own resources if you are going to ignore the internet.

@JoshBousel- Help this man's brisket pls!

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Tahini?

Tahini is amazing for cold sesame noodles.

The Best Charcoal Grills Under $500, 2015 Edition

@MaxGood- Can you please accidentally drop a couple of "grillgrates" on Kenji's SF doorstep?

The Best Charcoal Grills Under $500, 2015 Edition

@MaxGood- What took you so long? I've been reading your work for years. Welcome to SE. They will love you here!

A Double Dose of Marinade Gives Greek-Style Grilled Chicken Extra Flavor

@Kenji- I'm loving your chicken kick. Nice pics too. I'm noticing you are sold on using skewers for your chicken method. Do you think the metal skewer changes the way it cooks since there is a hot metal rod inside the chicken? I've done it (almost weekly)without skewers since you brought the butterflied method to my attention,but since trying with skewers,I feel like it cooks differently and the temp at some point rises so rapidly that before you know it the temp jumped from 140 to 160 in no time. Human error or possibly the skewers?

Also,since you're using cast iron grates,have you given "grillgrates" a shot? I am very impressed by them.

A New Summer Favorite: Grilled Chicken with Za'atar

For those that care,the BEST Labne is the Israeli Tnuva brand that can be found in many international markets as well as every kosher market.

Tnuva's flavor is light years better than the other middle eastern knock-offs that make it to the US.

Serious Eats and The Food Lab Have Teamed Up With Anova to Bring You the Best Sous-Vide Guides On the Planet

@Vivat.Dan I was on that wp volunteer committee. The started off by stating that had no plans to support 8.1 and higher. What's the point of volunteering to support an old platform? I bailed on that committee and am hoping enough windows phone users bug them to promote its development.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak

@Kenji- I just salted myself in excitement.

Serious Eats and The Food Lab Have Teamed Up With Anova to Bring You the Best Sous-Vide Guides On the Planet


Any chance we can get a windows phone app?

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak

@kenji- I didn't mean that I pre-salt and leave in a bag. I pre-salt and leave on a rack for a few days (to dry and let salt do its magic),then cook via sous vide. Since it's not in a bag,do you still believe the cured texture will prevail?

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak

@Kenji- I've been using your pre-salting recommendation for steaks ever since your article about salting. For sous vide steaks,I've been salting them for a day or two on a rack in the fridge. Then I sous vide them,then I chill and freeze. The day I am ready to eat the steak,I sear it frozen over charcoal (or for thicker cuts,I let the bag sit in warm tap water,then sear on charcoal)

Does your pre-salting method (never between minutes .5 and 40) apply to cooking steaks sous vide?

The Baking Steel Griddle Has Arrived

@Kenji- Can it be used in a weber kettle with the coal insanely hot? I don't own the kettlepizza but was wondering if this over charcoal in my kettle with the lid on would produce results worth the splurge.Any idea?

Ed Levine on Josh Ozersky: A Well-Fed Life Cut Too Short

Huge loss in food journalism. I followed Josh's work for the last decade or so. His work and influence will be missed immensly by all.

I tip my hat to the purest of purists,Josh Ozersky. R.I.P.

The Real Rules of Making Polenta (Hint: They're Not What Everyone Says)

@DanielGritzer Nicely done. I am definately in the water and not runny polenta camp. Two questions I have regarding your testing:

1. I wondered if after pre-soaking the polenta for a few hours,would draining the water and rinsing off the polenta decrease it's starchy heaviness even further? (rather than use the same water it's been soaking in)

2. In terms of smooth/creamy polenta-have you tried smoothing out the cooked polenta with a stick blender? I'm hoping you'll save me the mess of finding out in my kitchen the hard way. lol

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Sumac?

Sumac is amazing as a poultry or game rub mixed with a little paprika.

One of my favorite sumac applications though,is for a greek gyro style white sauce (labne mixed in a blender with sumac,lemon juice and a little olive oil creates a magically sour and tart sauce that goes great with almost anything).

Myth Testing: The Secrets of the Best Matzo Balls

@Daniel Gritzer-

You mentioned the mixture must rest,but you didn't mention how.Does it have to be refrigerated while it rests,or can it rest on the counter? Is there a difference in the final result?Did you test the rest without refrigeration? Please tell me you did.

Myth Testing: The Secrets of the Best Matzo Balls


Instead of seltzer,I used Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda which I had at home.It adds a nice sweetness with celery flavor that pairs beautifully with the soup,plus the carbonation makes it a huge bonus for the matzo ball's texture.

Combine Jewish Cooking With Southern Barbecue for Braised Brisket

@JoshuaBousel- Nice post. You had me till "and for some of that liquid to retreat back into the meat—taking the flavors of the rub with it".

Didn't Kenji already prove none of those flavors other than salt are penetrating those meat fibers? Just sayin...

Stuffing Waffles, Stuff-Puppies, and Stuffin's: Three Ways to Bake Your Stuffing Better

@Kenji- Which waffle iron has been your favorite? I can't tell which model you are showing in the pic. Any thoughts on a waffle iron? Form factor recommendation or anything you could suggest to look for in a waffle iron.Thx!

The $29 Thermopop Digital Thermometer Measures Up

@Kenji- I've been on all my friends' cases about the need for a thermapen. When a friend recently asked me what I thought about the ThermoPop,I looked into it in detail.

The ThermoPop is much shorter (reach-wise) than the ThermaPen.Since the ThermaPen has a probe than folds out of the unit,you get an extra 7 inches of reach.The main reason I would not buy the ThermoPop is b/c I tend to cook at high heats very often in different environments as well (stovetop,oven,weber kettle,weber propane). If you are like me and enjoy some wrist hair,you will appreciate these 7 inches. I could not imagine cooking the way I do and having to be seven inches closer to the heat measuring temps on a skirt steak over 700degree coals with the mini-reach of the ThermoPop.No thanks.Perhaps a less heat intense cook (baker,pastry chef,etc.) would appreciate the ThermoPop. Just my .03

@North Cook- I'm w/you on the thermapen timing. Mine begins to read instantly,but doesn't settle at the final temperature reading for atleast 5-6 seconds. I've spoken with Thermaworks about it,had it calibrated and still performs the same way. That being said,I LOVE IT and use it every day.

The Food Lab: For the Best Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Use Science, Not Sugar

@arbeck Thanks.I asked b/c I wasn't sure if that temperature was for the par cooking process and/or also for serving temperature.

The Food Lab: For the Best Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Use Science, Not Sugar

@ Kenji- What would be the holding temperature for mashed vegetables in the sous-vide? i.e. what temperature should I hold these potatoes at (after they are sous-vide'd,roasted,mashed,and seasoned) till guest arrive? I want to make this ahead of time,leave it in a bag in the fridge so that I could just toss it into a water bath a couple of hours before guests arrive so I don't have to nurse it in a pot on the stove and I could just squeeze it out of the bag moments before plating.


The Secret to Crisp Arancini (Rice Balls) With Molten Centers: Sushi Rice

I had a ton of these growing up in Brooklyn too. Some bad,some good,but mostly nostalgically good and bad at the same time. I always wanted a recipe like this. Great photos too.

@DanielGritzer Question for you-I use a japanese induction heating rice cooker. Do you think I could just pop the sushi rice in there,make the bechamel while that is cooking,and then combine the bechamel with the sushi rice once rice cooker is complete?

Knife Skills: How to Prepare, Peel, and Cut Butternut Squash

Can we talk about why fingers turn waxy and tingle from touching raw b-squash?

Now how'bout a tested recipe for roasted B-squash fries?

How to Make the Best Chicken Parm Sandwiches? Start With Great Chicken Parm

@Kenji- It's like you were standing over my shoulder and noticed I was looking up new twists on chicken parm for tonight.

One method I started using recently (in order to preserve the crunch of the breaded cutlet after it's smothered in sauce is- Before assembling the sandwich,I butterfly the already fried chicken cutlet (I purposely don't pound them so that they are still pretty thick pieces even after butterflying them).I then take the chicken breasts and lay them breading side down on the bread (no sauce on the actual bread either),then I smother the exposed inside of the breasts with sauce and melted cheese.

I found that this method preserves all the crunch of that breading b/c the breading side of the breast does not come in contact with any moisture from the sauce or cheese.

I welcome any thoughts/feedback/suggestions.

Where are my Asian Jews?

Hey SE'rs,

I'm looking for some inspiration/ideas/recipe for this upcoming Passover Seder. This is my first Seder that I am hosting myself. My mom always does the standard Passover meal from A to Z. This year,I was thinking of changing it up on everyone by surprising them with a kickass asian passover meal.

Some of the ideas I had were along the lines of:

Gefitle Fish and julienned carrot Sushi Rolls garnished with a purple horseradish sauce.

Grilled Skewered mini matzah balls with some dipping sauce

Sweet and Sour cubed brisket,stir fried szechuan style served over stir fried egg noodles

Any other ideas would be much appreciated. I should note,we eat sephardic style,so rice,corn,etc. are all kosher in our seder.

Also,I don't want to be in the kitchen while guests are over,so anything that can sit in a warming tray would be ideal.


Is it Offal etiquette to misrepresent your dish?

The Nasty Bits posted an April Bloomfield tongue recipe that inspired me to include it as a dish for an upcoming holiday dinner with a bunch of kids,family,friends,etc.

Suppose you were my meat eating guest. Would you be offended if I served tongue but billed it as "beef in a tangy sauce". In other words,you already eat beef but may be grossed out by the thought of eating tongue. I know everyone doesn't do this,but I am a crowd pleaser and assuming I think the tongue will be universally enjoyed,I'd rather leave out the dirty "tongue" word.

Would you be pissed if I told you what you ate after dinner?

I am not talking about people that don't eat tongue,specifically. I am referring to the unadventerous guests that think that eating tongue is gross b/c they are immature or don't know better.

Where can I buy freshly caught fish in South Florida?

Does anyone know where I can buy fish just caught off the boat (ideally already cleaned and ready for sale)?

In other words,is there a marina that sells the fish they caught that day to non-restaurant consumers? The closer to Boca,the better.


Help Me Shop in South Florida (Boca Raton) and surrouding areas)

I am relocating to Boca Raton,FL (from Manhattan). Food-wise,I am as spoiled as they come. I'm not even referring to the plethora of restaurants NYC has to offer.I'm talking about the orgy of ethnic grocery/supermarkets that we have at our fingertips. I'm just sayin',it's really easy for us NY'ers to take that for granted.

Besides Publix and your occasional specialty market,can you guys help tell me where I will be shopping? I'm looking for the places you would get excited to shop at in South Florida (mainly between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale as the closer to Boca,the better! Thx!

Examples for what I need:

Butcher (prime meats)- Like one that would grind a custom blend to order.

Fruit and Vegetable Markets- Hopefully,an inexpensive one that has a huge variety.

Pasta- Ideally,a place that sells fresh made pasta.

Bakery- Mainly for breads.

Ethnic/Specialty markets- For my Asian,Spanish,Indian,and Middle eastern ingredients.

Fish- I would love to know where the best fish markets are,or even better-if anyone knows where you can buy the freshest fish possible (like right off the boats at the marina) that would be sweet.

Cheeses- Where can I get my cheese fixes without having to go to Whole Foods?

Appetizings- Like smoked salmon (lox),etc.

Kosher-I have kosher relatives down there,so if you anyone knows any good ones,that would be great too.

Thanks, I'll be sure post an update one I move down there next month.

The $517 Burger that's totally worth it!!!

Flight from JFK to LAX =$500

Burger at Comme Ca in West Hollywood =$17

Having meaty,cheesy burger juice dripping down to your elbows while scarfing down the best burger ever = PRICELESS

Sorry,I've been out of the loop for a long time...been lurking just too busy to write...but I couldn't resist telling everyone about this burger that has been reviewed on AHT california-ca.html .

I've had Spotted Pig,Corner Bistro,BLT,Shack Shack,etc. Nothing comes close to how perfect this burger is. This burger is worth flying to Los Angeles for the experience.

On a separate note..I went to Umami Burger..had the signature burger as well as the SoCal...both were delicious,but really,it's not a burger. Each component (the caramelized onions,mushrooms,homemade ketchup) were individually amazing but completely overpowers the meat with it's bold flavors. However, I can't blame them for it since they did call it an Umami Burger....I think it's more of an Umami Sandwich

I also went to brunch @ BLD Restaurant in West Hollywood. Holy crap was it great. I had their famous ricotta blueberry pancakes which were great but I also had the "Ode to Butterfield's" -thinly sliced flatiron steak, poached eggs, cabernet sauvignon hollandaise on house made english muffin. Probably my favorite bfast dish ever!!!

The Cabernet Hollandaise was frigin' amazing...don't miss it if you're in LA.

Best Recipe You've Ripped-Off @ Home?

Every now and then you come across a restaurant dish or sauce so good you can't stop thinking about how to make it at home. I'm talking about the iconic stuff known in your area (i.e. "Best thing you ever ate",etc.)

Things that come to mind in NYC (but way too many to mention)are the chocolate chip cookies at Prêt A Manger,DiFara's pizza,Pio Pio Chicken and their famous mystery Green-goo sauce,The Breslin Lamb burger,Edamame Dumplings at Buddakhan...or any of your local favorites.

I wanted to start this post by asking you to share any recipes you've managed to nail down as good as the original. I don't care where you live; try to share the type of recipe you know your neighbors have waited in line for. Please share the name and location of the establishment too so we can try it sometime too.

Pret a Manger Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe....Anyone?

So each TG,I like to send all my guests home with a little goodie bag. I'd love to bake a batch of my favorite cookies (Pret a Manger's "chocolate chunk") which made the top 10 SE cookie contest.

Is there anyone that has been successful in replicating their recipe or any cookie bakers out there that have tried their cookies and know an almost identical recipe?

Sexy Kitchen Confessions....

I'm getting a bit tired of all this Thanksgiving talk..we need to spice it up a bit and remind us why we all keep coming back for some more SEats!

When I first started dating my wife,the sharpest tool I had in my arsenal to win her over with was my cooking.

Be honest..Have you ever "hooked-up" with someone because of their cooking? Or..Have you ever used your cooking as a tool to lure in a potential mating prey?

This is suppose to be a fun post..pls share any cute,funny, romantic,embarrassing,or distasterous stories you'd like us to read...also,if you succeeded at winning over a life partner or even if you just got into someone's pants with a particular dish...pls let us know what that dish was!

Please begin your post with "Chef" or "Prey" to identify which side of the attack you were on.

Let's Talk Turkey

As if I didn't have enough options for what to make this TG...I just called my favorite Turkey butcher,Aaron's Gourmet in Queens. Due to their popularity,they have been delivering to Manhattan the last few years. Fan-frigin-tastic quality kosher (brined) turkeys with all the options (frozen,fresh killed,organic,wild,etc.).

I'm having around 20 people over so when I asked for a big turkey (around 25lbs),the very knowledgable chef/owner,Aaron mentioned to me that I would be much better off getting two smaller turkeys (12-14lbs) as they will have a better,sweeter taste and cook much more evenly.

I don't doubt that he's probably right,I'm just really concerned about the cooking time,temperature and even roasting. I have a typical residential oven. Can anyone maticulous about cooking a turkey to a perfect temperature tell me if you've ever roasted two at the same time in a standard oven? I'm also concerned about having to rotate it too often and losing too much heat.


*Please begin your post with "Have" or "Have Not" (made two turkeys before at the same time). It helps differentiate the personal experience posts v. personal expertise posts.....I value both highly nonetheless!

Looking for Thanksgiving recipes I can freeze...

As a follow up to my earlier post about my thanksgiving fantasy,I'd really appreciate some recipes that can be frozen in advance,thawed the morning of and heated while my Turkey rests after being cooked.

Quick,Easy,and Awesome is the theme for the sides and appetizers.

As much as I'd like every recipe from your dinner table,it would be great if you could share JUST ONE favorite show-stopper recipe (The one you're bringing to Bobby Flay's Thanksgiving side dish or appetizer Throwdown)


My Naughty Thanksgiving Fantasy.......


1.Have turkey cooked last and by itself so it's perfectly cooked and warm when served
2.Pre-cook all the sides days before and serve them warm
3.Keep my kitchen mess under control w/out stressing out my preggo wife

Some details on my fantasy:

Ok,so every year I have about 16-18 people over for thanksgiving.I don't mind killing myself in the kitchen for two days prior,but if there's one thing I can't stand it's room temp turkey and a messy kitchen.Also,I need to somehow convince my pregnant wife that hosting it this year won't be a big,I know

My thanksgiving fantasy would be to have all the sides and apps ready days before and then warmed up before I put the turkey in the oven. This way,my turkey gets perfectly cooked by itself in the oven. Guest will enjoy it warm,while somehow keeping everything else (sides,apps) warm and not soggy either. Since everything will be made days before,my kitchen hopefully won't look like a war zone while keeping my preggo wife stress-free.

I'm begging some maticulously organized SE'rs to help me not turn this into a cold,messy disaster.

Best Dual Purpose Roasting Pans??

I'm in need of some new roasting pans (half-sheet). I'm looking to buy 4 of them of the same size and type so they can stack well in my oven when not being used. Two of them would be dedicated for baking (cookies,pastries,etc.) and the other two for roasting (chicken,potatoes,etc.). I've done a ton of research online and frankly,there is so much debate about the different types that I'm blinded by all the info.

If you're the proud owner of such dual use half sheet roasting pans,please spread the love and let me know the brand or model,if possible.

I often roast at very high temperatures,so top quality is a must. (i.e. money is not a factor in my purchase).


Calling All Soup Nuts.....Gimme Ur Fav Recipe,PLEASE!

Last Fall and Winter I got into the habit of making a HUGE batch of soup every Sunday that would last us through Thursday. Each day changing it up a bit with a parmesan toast,or a dollop of sour cream or even just some sirachi. Not having to plan dinner each night was great. It was also fun b/c by the time winter was over I realized I learned and experimented with about 15-20 different soup recipies which are always fun to make.

Last year Seriously Italian introduced us to Zuppa Di Farro,by far my favorite soup to make and reheat. (

I broke the soup-making seal yesterday with this amazing soup,I used some meaty oxtails instead of pancetta,which adds a little meatiness to the meal later in the week so you don't feel like you're just eating soup all week.

I'd love to hear if anyone also makes a different soup every week with similar purpose. It would be awesome if y'all (not sure why I just used that term) could share your recipies as well. If you do,I will be sure to post my results after I make it.


Anyone know a "Must-Eats" joint in Nassau,Bahamas?

I'm going to Atlantis hotel in Nassau,Bahamas tomorrow and if you don't know yet,the food there is a total ripoff ($40 pasta dishes,etc.).

I'll definitely check out some off the resort joints,can anyone help me find a great place to eat,even if it's niche food.


Is "Food" the next "Bubble"?

During the day,I make my living as a stock-broker/financial advisor for one the big Wall Street firms. It's my job to identify bubbles before they burst to protect my clients. In the early 2000's we had the Dot Com bubble burst,in late 2007 it was Real all know how it ended.

Food has all the characteristics of a bubble.It has emotional and cognitive biases. And,just like each time such a phenomenon appears, pundits try to find a rationale, so as not to be against the crowd.

Anytime I see a trend with this much hype,noise, and emotional opinions,I say......"It looks like a bubble,smells like a bubble,and tastes like a bubble" (pun intended).

"Food" came out of nowhere about 10 years ago. Something tells me it's peaking and it may blow up in our faces...(i.e. There will be too many blogs,websites,restaurants,specialized food stores,and food options to choose from).

Usually,trends like these don't end well and I just can't imagine all these Steakhouses and Fancy Pants burger joints in NYC staying open long enough to compete with the new place down the block.

Do you think "Food" is just a "Bubble" (which will eventually burst)?

Please begin your post with "Bubble" or "Not a Bubble". (please do your best to answer the question correctly. Don't post unless you've picked one side as it's not fair to many of us to read a post that begins with "Both" or "Not Sure".


What's your "Drunk Meal"?

I don't really get drunk anymore now that I'm married w/children..but I always chuckle when I see the Murray Hill (nyc) 20'somethings scarfing down pizza @ 2am like it's the last batch of dough on earth.

My 2am drunk food binge with my friends was usually Big Macs,Double Whoppers,or a Cheeseburger Deluxe at some greasy spoon diner.

What do/did you pig out on when you're wasted?

Have you ever spit your food into a napkin?

What do you do when a friend cooks something you find inedible? Do you pull a P.S.S. (painful swallow-n-smile)?

Do you hold back telling your friend they seriously messed up?

Or are you the type to spit it back onto your plate with some saliva strings hanging down?

How do you handle nasty cooking? Tell me your method...

What's your "Death Row" meal?

If you had to pick the very last meal you were having on your way out,what would it be?

For me,it would be "Roasted Bone-In Whole Lamb Shoulder" and potatotes. Nothing pleases my palate more than the gooey stickiness of fatty lamb. It's so yummy,I hate to brush that flavor off my teeth that night before going to worries,I do anyway....but I could see how the taste of that lamb could make for some sweet dreams..zzz...zzzz..baaa-baaaa..

This meal is a fan favorite amongst my friends and family. I've made it dozens of times,it's super easy and can turn an vegan into a carnivore in one seating. In case you're wondering,the recipe I use is adapted from Jamie Oliver's "roasted lamb shoulder" which is frigin' awesome!

What would you have as your last meal? If it's anything out of the ordinary,please spread the love and show us your recipe. If it's good enough for your last meal,I'm sure it should be in all our repetoirs.

Please begin your post with the title of the recipe.

Food Shopping- "List" or "Scramble"?

When I go food shopping I always have a few staple items I need to buy (milk,eggs,fruit,etc.) But most of the time I am scrambling around to find anything that looks fresh,appetizing and screams yummy dinner this week. This drives my wife crazy as she does not understand how I could buy something without knowing what I'll need it for (guess who does the cooking in MY kitchen)

I recently watched an episode of "Chopped" where a difficult ingredient they used was Bitter Melon. I was curious enough to buy it even though I've never seen or cooked it before. There's something I love about discovering new produce,even if it's disgusting....and yes,the bitter melon was disgusting (imho).

So,besides the basics-do you shop with a list or just scramble?

Please begin your reply post with "LIST" or "SCRAMBLE".

I'd also love to hear feedback from those couragious enough to regularly experiment with completely foreign foods.

Best Non-Pork alternative to Bacon?

Being jewish,I never ate pork in my life and don't plan on it. I am not really stricly kosher about anything else (I do mix meat and dairy...I know,I'm a kosher-poser) except shellfish.

As a foodie/at-home chef,I am constantly reminded at how great bacon would be in every dish. I'm tired of it. I'm sure there's nothing like it and I'm sure I'm missing out. However,I'm very principaled and won't give in,especially something completely unknown to me.

What is a great non-pork alternative to bacon?

Please don't say anything that ends in the word bacon like (turkey or chicken) because even I know that's not as good as real bacon. There's got to be something better out there than processed dark meat turkey/chicken thighs.....Help me out swinees!

Tell us your worse kitchen disaster?

The actual purpose of this posting is to spread the word to anyone dumb enough to do what I goes..I just finished watching Lidia's Italy,an episode for "Roasted Baby Lamb Shoulder" looked frigin' amazing,I was all over it....after many,many phone calls I finally located the only place that had baby lamb in nyc
I spent about 6 hours roasting this poor baby in my oven....even my neighbors were peaking their noses out their doors to see what I was cooking.

Anyway, I invited about 10 people over..everyone was seated in my dining room,I took the lamb out of the oven and rested the roasting pan on my stovetop. In the meantime,I scooped out the vegetables from the pan,pureed them and wanted to reduce it down a bit so I can just glaze the warm lamb before serving. I was drueling over the stovetop just looking at this beautiful baby baa-baaaa.
I didn't have any clean pots around so I grabed a large pyrex measuring cup and even had the foresight to turn around to everyone in my dining room and say "does anyone know if you can put pyrex on an open flame?" Everyone just shrugged and deferred it to their experience in chemistry when they could all recall using a bunson burner beneath a beaker and most responded with a "probably" was good enough for me....I lit a low flame and started to reduce the was taking forever to heat up...I didn't understand why it wasn't even starting to bubble...anyway,my impatient guests,fork and knife in hands were dying to eat this lamb already...I turned up the flame just a bit..turned around to my guest and said "ok,the lamb will be ready in about 2 minutes" and then BOOOOM! a huge explosion of chards of pyrex went flying like shrapnel around my kitchen. Thank g-d I turned around just before it happened. It completely ruined the lamb which was covered in micro chards of glass everywhere. Dinner was totally ruined (not to mention about $200 in meat)...since then,that dinner has been named "Baby Lamb Explosion"

Do You Eyeball or Measure?

While cooking your masterpieces or just plain old weeknight dinners,do you bust out with measuring spoons,cups,scales,and such to season your goods?

I pinch and eyeball. I'm too damn lazy to clean my measuring cups and spoons after I'm done cooking. I really never measure unless flour is involved since I've messed up pancakes too many times and have learned my lesson the chewy way.

I'm curious where the majority lies in this method? What's your method?

Restaurant Pet Peeves....anyone?

Ok,I admit it...I'm hating on some restaurants lately. Don't get me wrong,I love enjoying a great meal in a fine restaurant....there's just a few things I can't tolerate,especially from an expensive joint

Have you ever had butter brought to your table that tastes like refrigerator? I can't stand the practice of preparing butter days in advance (which I think is what causes that taste).

Anyone w/me on this? In any case,I'm looking for one-liners on what irks you about some restaurants? (Feel free to expose them by name and location..pls)

Beware of the butter @ Blue Water Grill in nyc.

Pine Mouth! Yuk! Read this if you ever use Pignoli Nuts

So I was reading SE's article today "Pine Nuts: Going Beyond Pesto" and couldn't resist posting my story.

A few months ago my wife was at Trader Joe's (Union Sq,nyc) and I asked her to pick up Pignolis (Pine Nuts) for a fresh pesto I was making. She brought home the bag and the first thing I noticed was that some of the nuts were whole and some were broken. I immediately commented to my wife not to buy these from TJ's again because they look cheap and are quite expensive as it is. Nonetheless,I used them for my pesto and we all enjoyed our yummy dinner that night.

The next morning,I was having my coffee and realized I have an intense bitter/mettalic taste in my mouth. I threw out the coffee. Over breakfast I again had that same taste in my mouth. Each time I ate or drank something,it came back. After a few frustrating meals and thoughts of mouth cancer running through my mind-I googled "mettalic taste in my mouth" and the first article was about "Pine Mouth". Apparently this is a well documented phenomenon caused by consumption of oxidized pine nuts. I ended up having this condition for 3 weeks,every single meal was ruined! After further research,I discovered that this is typical in nuts distributed from far distances. I pulled the bag of pine nuts out from TJ's and the label said "from Korea,Russia,or Vietnam". Are you f'n kidding? They don't know where it's from. Turns out TJ's knows all about this issue and that their nuts are consistently oxidized because one batch from one country often contaminates the other).

The point of this post is that of course you never know where you're getting your nuts from,but if you experienced what I di dfor 3 weeks,you'd have trouble having Pignoli nuts ever again. What a shame,as pesto is one of my favorite sauces to make.

I attached ABC's article from this summer about this new phenomenon.Keep an eye on ur nuts!

Meet & Eat: Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich's story epitomizes the American Dream. As a child, her family fled the communist government of Pola, Istria (now Pula, Croatia) for a refugee camp in Trieste, Italy, where her parents worked as the hired help of a wealthy family for two years before they were able to emigrate to the U.S. when Bastianich was 12. She spoke to us about her career, how Italian food in America has changed over the years, and what she'd do if PBS lost funding. More