• Location: Wilmington, DE
  • Favorite foods: Mummy's Indian food, Bo Ssam and Pork Buns from Momofuku, Scallion pancakes, guacamole without tomatoes, Chipotle (yes, really), pho, peking duck and any of the world's pizza rolls: samosas, empanadas, perogis, pupusas, crab rangoon, etc.

Indian Spices 101: How to Work With Dry Spices

I remember that Raghavan Iyer, (who wrote my two most-used Indian cookbooks 660 Curries and Betty Crocker's Guide to Indian Home Cooking), did an interesting demonstration on Splendid Tables about the 8 ways to use a spice. Found it here:

Gluten-Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

This comment is way after posting, but I finally got around to making these--very good! I think I would try to reduce the sugar to 3/4 (as suggested by the author in the comments) as they were fairly sweet. I added chocolate chips and sprinkled sea salt on top, and the sea salt was needed to counter the sweetness. But they are delicious!

Vegan: The Best Sweet Potato and Bean Chili

I can get uncooked hominy here in London, but not canned, long does one boil hominy to get to the texture of canned?

Why Have I Never Tried: Lion Bars?

I'm an American expat who just moved from Germany to London, but in Germany we had Lion CEREAL. It was so amazing. I actually had the cereal before the candybar, I didn't realize it was basically the equivalent of "Reese's Puffs cereal" or whatever. They probably have it here too but I'm pretty new here and just haven't seen it yet! (And am currently eating Krave cereal, which we also had in Germany. I like choco cereals as dessert!)

Vegan Chickpea Cakes with Mashed Avocado

I am also interested in an alternative to the bulgur, mostly cause I have a tough time finding it where I live (in a foreign country where it would also be difficult to order).
Not the same issue as @MaxineKL, so, do you think I could just put more bread crumbs in the mixture?

The Food Lab's Complete Guide To Pan-Seared Steaks

Funny story: My husband was once making pan-seared steaks, got his pan super changing-color hot and THEN added the oil. Instant oil fire, goodbye pan.

I will definitely send him this link for the next time. (in his defense, the next few times, he did not almost burn the kitchen down).

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Sriracha Lover's Ultimate Gift Pack

I use it as a marinade for fried fish, along with a little ginger-garlic paste. Then the usual breading, etc., and you have haut fish fingers! (And then I use it on everything else too, but that is the "fancy" thing).

British Bites: Potted Shrimp

"Potted ____" reminds me of Enid Blyton books and, growing up in America, I thought potted meat sounded so awesome to take with me when I went on adventures. But the stuff I finally had was so horrid...I move to London this spring, can you get nice potted meat? Or shall I just stick to the potted shrimp?

29 Classic American Recipes We Love

This reads like a list of things I miss about the U.S. I am going to gain so much weight when I go home for a visit this fall!

Which Chain Makes the Best Ground Beef Taco?

I think my favorite taco chain is Taco John's, despite it's Wyoming beginning. They also have a salsa bar but their green salsa (salsa verde) is amazing. Of course, the location by my parents' house has gone downhill, which is possibly indicative of the whole chain, but I loooove those oles.

Snapshots from Germany: 10 Cheap Eats in Berlin

My local doner place will give you a donor box (fries/rice/noodles topped with doner meat and sauce) and add fried halloumi to the box also. That is the most amazing thing ever--halloumi on top of doner meat on top of fries with a big dollop of sauce.

I live in Dresden and I am particular to the currywurst and Curry and Co. Don't flame me for this, but I think it was better than all the currywursts I tried in Berlin--the pommes/fries are probably the best I've Ever had.

Suvir Saran's Shrimp and Sweet Corn Curry

My husband makes this awesome corn curry that we learned when traveling in Kerala--this sounds like it takes that simple recipe to the next level! Can't wait to try it

Hot Dog of the Week: Maui's Dog House in Philadelphia

A Hawk Krall article with a Holly's like my favorite hot dog eaters all in one place. I'm living in Germany, the mecca of all things swine wrapped in casing, but I am missing Philly and Coney dogs something fierce.

They also do the hard roll for the wieners here and it drives me nuts to have the hot dog longer than the bun, and the bun to be more work in eating than the hot dog. Sometimes I ditch the bun and just eat the good stuff.

Can't wait to return to Philly for a visit in October!

Dinner Tonight: Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon

Made this for dinner tonight as I had almost everything already stocked at home. I didn't have sun-dried tomatoes, so I eliminated that and chopped a fresh tomato and some red peppers. I bet the sun-dried tomatoes would've added a nice sweet tang, but I think it is a pretty forgiving recipe and a good basis for adding just about any other veggies your heart desires (I realized after the fact I had some carrots, which I think would've tasted great).

Best part? Using my newly-acquired spicy Hungarian dried red peppers in the recipe. Yum!

Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon

Made this for dinner tonight as I had almost everything already stocked at home. I didn't have sun-dried tomatoes, so I eliminated that and chopped a fresh tomato and some red peppers. I bet the sun-dried tomatoes would've added a nice sweet tang, but I think it is a pretty forgiving recipe and a good basis for adding just about any other veggies your heart desires (I realized after the fact I had some carrots, which I think would've tasted great).

Best part? Using my newly-acquired spicy Hungarian dried red peppers in the recipe. Yum!

French in a Flash: Anchoïade

I've been craving anchovies like woah lately. My husband thinks I am crazy...or pregnant. Neither is true.

This also seems like it would be good as a sauce or marinade or something, maybe just simply tossed with pasta for an approximation of aglio olio.

French in a Flash: Cassoulet-Style Sausage 'n' Beans

I am excited to try this. I made a cassoulet for New Year's Eve a few years ago (after falling in love with it while in Carcassonne years before that) and it took me two days of making the confit, etc. I would love to have a "in a Flash" substitute and this looks like it will do!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Sriracha Lover's Ultimate Gift Pack

Noodles, esp. macaroni and cheese!!!

Philadelphia: Pan-Fried Juicy Pork Buns at Dim Sum Garden

This is my favorite spot in Philly so I am glad to see it here! They didn't have the pan-fried dumplings before I moved back in April, and I can't wait to get back there! We always ordered the same thing, and the awesome waitresses knew what we wanted the second we walked in to the door. I've never had that camaraderie with a place before.

The Secret Ingredient (Chipotle): Smoking Hot Chipotle Fried Fish

Yum! I like to do fried fish with a rub of ginger-garlic paste (which I get in Indian grocery stores, or you can make) and Sriracha before breading and pan-frying. Similar spicy flavorful kick (plus I've only seen chipotle in adobo in one place here in Dresden).

Do You Have A Weird Pizza Eating Habit?

I do eat pizza like your wife EXCEPT I don't care for crust. So sometimes I eat it and sometimes I start biting in sideways from just below the crust and work my way across and down. You don't even KNOW complicated eating til you tried that.

Road Trip Snacking: Tasty Recipes to Make Ahead

Just came back from a month on the road and I coulda used some of these! We dehydrated some fruits and had jerky and trail mix on hand but what I really wanted was chips that didn't get crushed and were not Pringles. We also did a lot of summer sausage and cheese using our plastic bag-covered center console as a table.

Snapshots from Germany: Imbiss, or German Street Food, Explained

We are just about to move to Germany--to Dresden--actually, so this is a great read for us. Good to know a good Korean restaurant, albeit 2 hours away. Let us know if you have any suggestions for Dresden =)

Edible DIY: Bacon-Bourbon Jam

I made some from another recipe last weekend and I think I burned it. Had to toss it all out. However, this is a good excuse to try again!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Two Peter Luger Steaks

I like T-bone/Porterhouse. Because you get a good steak on one side and filet on the other--my husband always refers to the filet as "dessert."

Road food along 1-87 btwn I-287 and Albany (or VT-11)

Hey guys, we have to travel from Philadelphia to New Hampshire today (Wednesday) on some sad business (headed to a funeral for my little cousin). To make things better, we want to eat something gooood for dinner.

We plan to travel along I-87, from I-287, to avoid NYC and CT traffic, and then cut across Vermont along VT-11 and go up I-91 to Lebanon.

Do you know of a good roadside food place along this route? Preferably along the I-87 chunk of the trip, since that will be closer to dinner time.


Teach me how to love mushrooms

I don't like mushrooms. I don't know why. I think it is mostly a texture thing, but maybe also a visual thing (like the goomba-looking ones you get in Tom Yum soup). But I don't really mind the taste and can handle small bits of mushrooms, so I feel there is hope for me yet!

So how do I learn to love mushrooms? Are there preparations that are a good entre entree? Are there types of mushrooms I should try that might make me fall in love? Or conversely, mushrooms I should avoid to further stoking my fear?

This is my summer goal (along with learning to love olives, but I will save that for another post). Maybe, eventually, I can transition from these quality mushrooms to being able to eat ANY mushrooms! Too exciting.

Cheesecake troubleshooting

Hey, I made my third cheesecake ever this weekend, after two very successful ones that I made last month. The crust (made of pistachios) turned out wonderful...the filling, not so much.

The filling kind of...broke down. It had some cracks after cooling, which I know is characteristics of using not at-room temperature ingredients (I did let it cool fully to room temperature before refrigerating), but does that also affect how the custard stays together?

Baking info: I used two eggs and two egg yolks in the custard with one pound cream cheese, creamed together briefly so not to overmix. It also had mango puree for flavor, which worked in the past, so not sure if its a factor, unless it was too cold for the mix (it was previously frozen and thawed on the countertop). I baked it with a steam bath on the bottom shelf, but not submerged.

Another factor: I took it to a party where the hostess tends to feel chilly, so the temp in the house was turned up to like 83 degrees. We kept it in the fridge until serving, but it sat out post-serving and now today (two days later) its looks like a lava slide of custard.

So was it a temp fluctuation in ingredients or does cheesecake not stay together after being in a warm room? Tips and tricks are welcome!

Duck Confit, Cassoulet & other Duck questions

Somewhat inspired by @Sailordave's Serious Effort, I am also embarking on a cassoulet adventure this week.

I have decided the most cost-efficient (and culinarily entertaining/educational) way of doing the duck confit is to head down to the Asian markets, buy a couple of ducks and do it myself.

Here are my questions/problems/concerns:
1. The (Bourdain) recipe only calls for four duck legs confit. That, coupled with the fact that there is not enough fat in the ducks to confit the whole duck (though I would love to) makes me wonder what to do with the rest of the duck? Any suggestions? I've never worked with duck breast before--favorite recipes?

2. What about the rest of the duck? Roasting the giblets to make a pate was one suggestion I heard? And duck stock, of course, which I think I will sub in for water in the cassoulet.

3. I'm a little nervous of deconstructing the duck myself. Roasting giblets only scares me because I have to identify the giblets in the first place. Any suggestions, guides, etc.? I'm hoping I can get them to do it at the market, but since it's the Asian store, it's often not like the local butcher.

Thanks for any help or suggestions! I look forward to the cassoulety conversation.

Reheating pasta for a work cooking contest

We are having a pasta cook-off at work next week and, as the newbie, I want to prove my mettle!

I was thinking of a simple butternut squash ravioli with a brown butter sage. But our place does not have an oven or stove. Just a disgusting microwave. I thought of a hot pot to make the pasta fresh, but what about the brown butter? Will it reheat okay?

Should I change my recipe or do you have any ideas? What would you make for this contest?

I was also considering a slow-cooked meaty ragu or doing Cincinnati chili four-way (last month was chili-cooking contest, which I missed, so this could be best of both worlds!)

Georgian (the country) restaurant/area in NE Philadelphia

The other day I had a nice long chat with my cab driver. I mistook his name for Greek, which was bad because the Greeks and Georgians have deep roots of dislike. Anyway, he was telling me about this area in NE that has a lot of Georgian restaurants and recommended a specific one that is in a strip mall. I am wondering if anyone knows of this area?

After a little Google searching, I suspect it is off of Bustleton Avenue, mentioned in a CityPaper article from two years ago, but can anyone recommend a specific restaurant or just confirm that that is the area? And once I am there, what should I eat and what else should I do?

Roadtrip-DeathValley, Utah, GrandCanyon, Albuquerque, St.Louis

I tried to be very specific in my title! My friend and I are embarking on a three-week roadtrip at the end of September.

We will be leaving from her place in Berkeley and heading to Death Valley, then going to the Grand Canyon for 3 nights before heading to Zion National Park (Hurricane, UT) for 2 nights.
From there we go to Bryce Canyon (Panguitch, UT) and Arches National Park (Moab, UT) for a night each.
Then we head back to the Midwest, via Albuquerque and Lubbock, TX for a night each. Then Springfield, MO and St. Louis and Chicago!

We are on a budget but still like to eat good food, of course. Love the local joints that have the best food no one outside of town knows about. We have friends in Lubbock, Springfield, St. Louis and Chicago, so I am mostly worried about the tourist areas (especially around the Grand Canyon and Utah parks) that might focus more on "familiar" fast food, so help us out! I'm particularly excited to eat lots of good Mexican flavors.

Suggestions between towns are also welcome! Here is a link to our route.

How do you put a price on your time/experience cooking?

Having recently lost my job, I have started bartering for services, such as getting my hair cut in exchange for either cooking or teaching how to make Indian food.

The recent exchange I had, the person said they would pay for all the ingredients for a dinner for 6, which includes me and my fiance. I will probably pre-make a few dishes and teach how to make two.

How do I put a price value on your time? Do you think that is a fair deal for a $90 cut & color? (I am more worried that I am overvaluing my services for one meal). I am thinking of giving them a masala tin of spices culled from my collection, as sort of part of the teaching and to make it equal.

If it makes a difference, I am not professionally-trained, but I am pretty good with Indian food since that is what I grew up around.

'Slaw (and beans) to go with smoked sausage!

Guys, I was lucky enough to lay my little paws on five pounds of delicious smoked sausage from Southside Market. I'm looking for a 'slaw recipe to go with the sausage. One that really pairs nicely with it.

I'm also hoping for any baked bean suggestions. I have a basic bean-water-bacon-pepper-salt recipe, but is there anything else I should have in there? Molasses? Brown Sugar? Onions? Garlic? Cajun seasoning? I plan to experiment on this, but would love opinions or recipes. Also--stovetop or crockpot?

Food Blogs?

I don't usually go outside of the major food websites for recipes but I hear from friends that there are a bunch of food blogs out there that offer innovative recipes and they are frequently updated. Does anyone have any... More

Cook the Book: Baked Hot Chocolate

Photograph from kevinmarsh on Flickr Today's Cook the Book recipe comes to us from Heidi Friedlander, contributor to Scharffen Berger's The Essence of Chocolate, and pastry chef at Cleveland's popular Moxie. Baked in mugs or cups and dolloped with whipped... More

Super Bowl Party Giveaway: Snow's Brisket Haiku Winner

Congrats to our Snow's Barbecue haiku winner. We stayed after hours last night to read all the entries and deliberate (and laugh). Drum roll, please. Here's the winning bit of poetry: Hindu, Muslim, Jew What religious restriction? Insert Cow/Pig here —inothernews The winner has been notified by email and also appears on our Contest Winners page. Thanks to everyone who entered. The number—and quality—of haiku made this another tough one to judge.... More