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itsdelux

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

can't do ramen without sriracha!

Who makes the best set of measuring cups/spoons?

thanks for all the suggestions! very helpful :)

Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment- worth the money?

another recommendation for the KA attachment and for Lebovitz's book. I haven't gained weight from ice cream yet - I'd say I make a batch once a month, and I still buy ice cream, too. But I've also made great sorbets, which were delicious and really quite healthy. If your fruit is ripe enough, it doesn't even need sugar added. You can also get interesting flavors by adding herbs and spices. My main incentive for getting the attachment was homemade peach ice cream, too. I don't keep much in my freezer so I just keep my freezer bowl in there all the time, so I can make ice cream on a whim.

Cook the Book: 'Ready for Dessert'

hmm, I'm tempted to say David Lebovtiz's chocolate caramel matzah crack, but I think it's just so fresh in my mind from passover. But otherwise, ice cream. Especially fresh peach ice cream.

Home for the Holidays: What's Your Must-Visit Hometown Haunt?

Houston represent!! Gotta go to Niko Niko's for some gyros and fries. Or Mai's for tofu springrolls. Or Shipley's. Or Chapultepec.

What to do with Mascarpone

great ideas, thanks all!

Can't eat it anymore

Danish food. It's all boiled meat and salted herring and pickled everything. Except I'd keep their pastries, which in Denmark are actually called Wienerbrod (Vienna bread), so if Danish people consider it an import, it can be saved, right?

Cook the Book: America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

disaster and triumph combined: french macarons. 2/3 of the batch baked up beautifully and were filled with ganache and buttercream, 1/3 was pancake-flat and impossible to pry off the parchment paper. Those things are a lot of work!

What's the Secret to Great Fried Chicken?

it is all about the flour in the brown paper bag. that's how my grandma does it, and she knows! She also insists on buying whole chickens and cutting them up herself. Then the pieces go for a roll in the flour, a dip in egg batter, another roll in the flour, and a shallow fry in a cast-iron pan. And adding paprika to the flour mix doesn't hurt either.

Any Bring-From-Home Snack Ideas?

how i wake up in the morning: fat-free greek yogurt + berries or peaches + walnuts/almonds/pecans + a little sprinkle of brown sugar = yum. it is equally good in the afternoon. or evening.

watermelon or grapes are also really good snacks that fill you up really fast because they are full of water (duh). the yogurt is healthy too, as long as you don't get those single-serving yoplait or dannon containers which are a) wasteful and b) deceptive in that they claim to be healthy but are really laden with corn syrup and artificial flavoring, but that's another story...
and i have no excuse for the brown sugar. It's not healthy, but...it's really good!

What does a young foodie/recent grad need in his kitchen?

I think a cuisinart mini-prep food processor would be really handy (about $30-$50). You can chop things like onions and veggies for soups and such, plus you can make sauces like pesto. and it's reasonably sized for one person who will probably be cooking alone most of the time.

If you want to get a lot of stuff on the cheap, go to a restaurant supply store. You can get good pots and pans for practically nothing, plus they sell a variety of other things so you can look around for smaller gifts too. One thing I find indispensable is a good, heavy rimmed baking sheet. You can roast all kinds of veggies, and bake cookies, etc. I got a silpat to go with it so I rarely have to clean up :).

Another place to go for really cheap cooking supplies is Marshalls. They get All-clad, Emerilware, and Cuisinart factory seconds and sell them for about half the price of the first-quality stuff, and usually the imperfections are minor, if even visible. They also sell things like prep bowls (I got a set of 8 for about $5, use them every day), paring knives, and baking dishes.

Last Ditch Attempt to Eat the Best of Austin

I second Homeslice, it's not NY pizza but hello, Texas has tex-mex. And bbq.
others to try:
-Guero's on SoCo
-Juan in a million - on the East side, really really good if you have a hangover on a Sunday morning/afternoon
-Clay Pit, 16th and Guadalupe - amazing lunch buffet for like $7!!!
-Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX (plzzz tell me you've been there! If it's too far, Stubb's will do).
-Eastside Cafe - Manor just past 35
-Vespaio/Enoteca Vespaio on SoCo (one is more expensive than the other, but they are both amazing)
-Amy's ice cream - not really a restaurant, but yummyyy
-Zoot (haven't been for a while and I heard it changed locations and is not so good now, but their sister restaurant Wink is supposedly pretty good)
-Uchi, S. Lamar, and only if you have a few hundred dollars to throw around...

Well, I have a lot more suggestions where those came from, but if you only have a month you might not even have enough time!

Food art and artists

thanks so much for your help! good suggestions :D

Cook the Book: 'Kneadlessly Simple'

onion poppy seed bread, my mom's recipe. it's really pretty and braided and it's so simple but looks fancy!

Cook the Book: The Essence of Chocolate

when I was 10 my mom went to Paris - without me :*( - but she brought me a super-fancy version of a snickers bar at Fauchon. I could only eat a bite at a time, it was so rich, and I put it down for a second and walked away, and when I came back my dog had eaten the rest of it! I was so upset! but I'm glad my dog was ok even after all that chocolate...

Teach me tofu

If silken tofu is what you have left over, don't use it in a stir fry or a dish where you want the tofu to 'hold up' like a meat would in such a situation, because silken is meant to be creamier (after a year of being vegan I figured out such things...I also figured out that I shouldn't be vegan).

this might sound weird, but silken tofu is pretty good in smoothies. just use it like yogurt, and throw in some berries and ice and oj.

there's a nice blog called 101 Cookbooks that features a lot of tofu based recipes, maybe you can find something that sounds appealing to you.

also, if you really want to love tofu, learn to do it right! when making stir you MUST use firm or preferably extra-firm tofu, drain it and press as much water out of it as you possibly can - Alton Brown suggests wrapping it in a tea towel and pressing it between two cake pans for 12 hours...honestly i think just putting it between some paper towels and pressing on it gently a couple times will do the trick. If you want the tofu to be crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, don't marinate it at first. Just brown the outside gently in a skillet or wok using a bit of vegetable oil.Keep an eye out to make sure the sides are browning evenly. Then, drain the cooked tofu on paper towels and start cooking some veggies with whatever sauce you want to use. Throw the tofu back in a few minutes before the veggies are done, just to get it warm and saucy. It will take on the flavor of the sauce pretty much immediately, I have found that marinating makes little or no difference. Good luck!

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 53: I Am What I Eat

I just started keeping up with the serious diet because i've been on my own diet, and getting down into the 20's is so tricky (120's for me since I'm a girl, and a short one at that). they're elusive! But there have been a couple days where my scale whispers sweet nothings to me, like 128.5! Anyway, stay strong and love the gym. Also, have you seen this article?

@drgaellon, weighing in every day is a constant reminder that you're on a diet, and obviously some weight will be gained or lost due to normal body processes...but, I've found it to be a good tool to keep me on track. Scale-less days tend to be the days that cookies have their way with me :(

Serious Eats HQ Got New Sporks

I love these, I have one in my bag right now! I studied in Denmark for a summer and these are at all the museums and design stores there because they're made by a Scandinavian designer. My friend and I decided to call them 'spifes' (spork + knife)...

Cook the Book: 'Baking Unplugged'

this story is a baking disaster in the sense that if i'd had an oven, things would have been much better. my freshman year in college, i lived in dorms, as most freshmen do, and was not allowed to have any special appliances other than the dorm microwave. so not having a toaster/toaster oven, I decided to warm up a bagel in the microwave, and i happened to have some cheese (but not cream cheese) so i put the cheese on top to melt. This was apparently a really bad idea because i had started doing something while the bagel was in the microwave and didn't see the whole thing CATCH ON FIRE, but i could smell it pretty quickly, as could everyone else on my hall...for a week...

San Antonio Restaurant Recommendations?

I created an account here just to say that no trip to San Antonio is complete without a trip to Taco Taco Cafe. I was introduced to this place by my friend who goes to school in SA, and now I'm addicted. If I had the time I would make the 1.5 hour drive from Austin (where I live) just to eat a taco from TTC.

There is usually a line out the door, but don't let that discourage you because the line moves fast and it is completely worth the wait. Also, they were featured in Bon Appetit for having the best taco in America...who could argue with that? I recommend the Taco Norteno.

Here's the website: Taco Taco Cafe

Who makes the best set of measuring cups/spoons?

I've finally decided to take a stand against my crappy plastic measuring cups and spoons that I got in college. Now, in an ideal world, I would measure by weight all the time, but this world is not exactly ideal. Sometimes I just don't want to mess around with converting recipes from volume measurements to weight, and measuring cups actually are good for things like grains, etc.

So, it's time for some REAL cups and spoons! And preferably ones that are made of metal and have those nifty odd sizes, like 2/3- and 3/4-cups, etc.

Does anyone have recommendations for the best measuring sets? Bonus points if they are sold at Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, or Bed Bath and Beyond (where I have gift certificates). The all-clad sets have caught my eye, but I'm wondering if the expense is really worth it.

What to do with Mascarpone

Even though I love Mascarpone, I rarely buy it because it can get so expensive to cook with. However, I recently found a great deal on a couple tubs of the stuff (if anyone in Texas is interested, 8oz for $2 at Spec's Liquors and Fine Foods, and the price is good til January), and now I'm wondering what to do with it. In the past I've almost always used it in sweet applications because it goes so well with fresh berries, but I'm wondering if anyone has any great recipes for savory applications or for use with winter fruits. Thanks in advance!

nopalitos!

I bought a bag of nopalitos (cactus pads) at the grocery store today. Does anyone have any good nopales recipes? I remember having them in a breakfast taco one time and they were so good! But, I'd like to expand my horizons a little. So if anyone has a Mexican grandma with a really good nopales recipe please ask her if she would be so kind as to share. you could make suggestions even if they aren't from a Mexican grandma, I guess.

Food art and artists

Hey SE'ers,

I am currently working on a series of food-related installation art pieces (for my thesis), most recently "icing" walls with royal icing. I am not all that familiar with other artists - not chefs, though I do consider them artistic - who use food as a topic or theme. Do any of you know of something like this?

The few I can think of are generally photographers, like Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle (amazing!) or Carl Warner and Kathryn Parker Almanas. I know about bento art and I've seen a lot of art involving fruits and veggies styled to look like faces or animals, so what I'm looking for are artists who deal with food on a more conceptual level. Since this is my thesis project, I will have to give a presentation/defense, and it's important for me to be aware of art and artists that relate to my work. Any help is appreciated!

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