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How to Make Mexican Tamales

I shied away from making tamales at home for the longest time, believing it was an undertaking so labor-intensive that it was only worth doing with the help of many, many extra hands. Turns out I was wrong—tamales, while requiring a small amount of assembly time, really aren't all that hard or time-consuming to make at all. After a few rounds of recipe testing, this version with three options for fillings will give you plenty of light, tender, airy, and incredibly flavor tamales that you can eat for meals, snacks, and even freeze for later. More

Why You Should Turn Your Taco Night Into Puffy Taco Night

Puffy tacos, a San Antonio specialty, are made from fresh masa that puffs and crisps in hot oil. The result is crisp outside and soft within, and way more fun that your standard hard taco shell. They can be stuffed with your favorite variety of taco-night fillings—this recipe uses a flavorful ground beef mixture that's earthy, spicy, and slightly smoky. More

Need Poutine Now? Here's How to Make it Fast

Poutine is only as good as its three components—fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. Getting all of them just right can take time, including making your own stock, from-scratch fries, and homemade cheese curds. For a much quicker, yet still incredibly delicious, version, take our lead by making gravy with doctored store-bought stock and one of several fries and cheese options. More

How to Make the Ultimate Poutine

A perfect poutine is a trifecta of the best of its three ingredients—fries with a crisp exterior and soft interior, fresh and soft squeaky cheese curds, and a beefy brown gravy that's just flavorful enough without overwhelming the fries or curds. Getting each piece of the puzzle together for an ultimate version like this takes some time, but once complete, the reward is so good you'll go gaga even if you're totally sober. More

How to Make the Most Beefy, Tender, and Crispy Chicken-Fried Steak

Chicken-fried steak, at its worst, is an overcooked slab of tough beef coated in a greasy deep-fried coating made soggy by a gluey bland gravy. At its best, it's juicy and tender, rich with beef flavor, and coated in a crispy, crunchy shell that retains its bite even when doused with a flavorful, black pepper-spiked sauce. This recipe will get you the better of those two results. More

Take Your Spatchcocked Turkey to the Grill for Extra-Moist, Evenly Cooked Meat

The grill is well-suited to roasted turkey perfection. Situating the darker meat closer to a two-zone indirect fire lets the legs and thighs cook faster than the more delicate breast meat, leaving both sections of the bird to reach their respective ideal temperatures at the same time. Plus there's the bonus of adding wood chunks for lightly smoky, more flavorful meat. More

Jack Up Your Cornbread With These Five Variations

After working through loaf after loaf of Northern-style cornbread trying to find the best recipe, I thought I'd be be all cornbread-ed out. Instead, I wound up sitting in my kitchen one cold Saturday night, churning out one cornbread after another, combining sweet, savory, and spicy flavors until I had five iterations that really clicked, each taking an already excellent cornbread recipe to grand new heights. More

How to Make the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers

These turkey burgers deliver an entire Thanksgiving meal on a bun in the most delicious way possible. The patties are seasoned with onion, celery, sausage, sweet potato, sage, thyme, and garlic to create a fitting base that's built upon with apple-cranberry relish, gravy, spinach, and fried onions, completing the holiday equation. More

Tex-Mex-Style Soft and Chewy Flour Tortillas

@khark You want to go high, and let the skillet heat up for awhile. I used an infrared thermometer to measure the temp of my skillet.

How to Make Tex-Mex-Style Soft and Chewy Flour Tortillas

@thengai The baking is what gives these tortillas their chewy, bread-y texture. If you omit it, you get tortillas that are thiner and more tender, like these—which are awesome, just a different style.

How to Make Mexican Tamales

Crispy Cheese Tacos

@Creamy Cheese You could do that if you wanted. I was trying to keep the experience of the soft corn tortilla and the crispy cheese for contrast, plus I think the overflowing cheese looks pretty cool.

Why You Should Turn Your Taco Night Into Puffy Taco Night

@monopod & @emmythemac Never had a Navajo taco, but damn, that sounds good.

Why You Should Turn Your Taco Night Into Puffy Taco Night

@PoachedSteak I used both white corn for the masa harina and fresh masa I got. Either should work though.

Why You Should Turn Your Taco Night Into Puffy Taco Night

@Ananonnie Yeah, that's what I meant by fresh masa. I did get mine from Nixtamal. Went back the next week too for more to make tamales—it's good stuff.

Why You Should Turn Your Taco Night Into Puffy Taco Night

@Dennis They should stay crisp. I made most of my shells an hour or so before I ate them and also had some fresh. The masa that doesn't crisp is a bit softer and better soon after the fry, but the shells that sat out were totally fine.

Thin and Tender Flour Tortillas

@Lexine M A pastry cutter would work great, rubbing the fat in by hand is good as well. I used the food processor because I was making so many batches it sped things up a lot. If I were making only 1 batch, I'd opt for a pastry blender to avoid having to get out and clean the food processor.

@Dori Zinn I tried water that was around 110°F and the ones with cold water and cold fat were the most tender and flaky, which was my goal with these. Warm water still made stellar tortillas and they were the most like the ones I'm used to getting in Houston, but I do believe the cold ingredients made these tortillas all the better.

@lauraeeparis I tried vegetable shortening as well, but those ended up a bit more dense, not as tender, and lacked the flavor of the lard. They weren't bad at all, just not as good. Baking powder and milk will give you a little chewier tortilla, which is a different style that I have a separate recipe for coming soon :)

How to Make Flour Tortillas So Tasty You'll Want to Eat Them Alone

@elangomatt Never had those, but they look pretty good based on this post.

@Coconut12 I didn't try boiling water, but the tortillas I made with the warm water weren't as tender or flaky. The ones with the warm water were actually the most similar to what I get in Houston, but the cold fat/cold water were even better in my opinion.

@Fingolfin114 All bacon fat would probably be overpowering, but adding a tablespoon may give it a nice smoky, salty flavor.

How to Make Flour Tortillas So Tasty You'll Want to Eat Them Alone

@Yozhik Adding baking powder will create a different variety of tortilla—have a separate recipe for that coming...

How to Make Flour Tortillas So Tasty You'll Want to Eat Them Alone

@DrGaellon You can order lard from Amazon, but if you can find a local source you should be able to save a lot of money on it. I haven't had the best luck at butchers, it's been easier to find at farmer's markets. You may want to check Mexican groceries too, they tend to have lard with a darker color and bit more flavor that's great for tortillas and tamales.

Quick and Easy Poutine

@Coogles Thanks for pointing out, I've fixed that.

How to Make the Ultimate Poutine

@conky The gravy I made was pretty mildly beefy—the stock was a combo of beef, veal, and chicken. Since it wasn't a true roasted beef stock, it actually hit a really nice balance of flavors, in my opinion. Next time I'll try it with a chicken only.

How to Make the Ultimate Poutine

@ChazL I did double fry the fries, then extended the cook on the second fry to get a little more crispness.

How to Make the Ultimate Poutine

@Ocean Yeah, I know. There's a great "quick and easy" coming...

The Ultimate Poutine

@plazmaorb That's only if you consider the poutine alone—you get a lot of extra stock that can be used for other soups/gravies/sauces, so their a lot of additional value there.

Crisp and Chewy Thai Fried Chive Cakes (Kanom Gui Chai)

@Robin Garr: You need to get the rice and tapioca flours for these to be right. You may be able to find them all in the grocery under the "Bob's Red Mill" brand if the Asian market isn't within reach.

How to Make Thai Fried Chive Cakes

@The J I haven't tested out frying them straight from the freezer yet, but that's how I was planning on making them next time. It took a fair amount of time to develop a dark crust, enough time that I would think the insides should fully defrost and warm through if they're frozen. Again, haven't tried it yet, so just a theory so far.

How to Make Thai Fried Chive Cakes

@Jammin & @selyar I did take a photo of them before chopping, but it didn't turn out well and wasn't very usable. You can always image search that, which is how I stopped myself from almost buying the wrong thing when I was at the grocery.

Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup)

@Bill Woods Supposed to just say "heat remaining oil," I fixed that. You can use the garlic oil, but you'll have to adjust the amount of garlic in the recipe so it's not overly garlicky.

Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup)

@bunkylion Yes. You may need to thin it a bit with water or more stock when reheating if it's thickened up too much.

How to Make Arroz Caldo: Filipino Chicken Soup for the Soul

@phreddo We'll make a lot and eat it through a week. Usually I need to add a bit more stock or water to it when reheating to get it back to the right consistency.

How to Make Arroz Caldo: Filipino Chicken Soup for the Soul

@tbhenson You could do that. I never have, so you may need to adjust the amount of garlic in the recipe depending on how strong the the flavor of the oil is.

How to Make Arroz Caldo: Filipino Chicken Soup for the Soul

@Ben Greene Yes, you can see my recipe here.

Grilling: Zucchini with Parmesan and Garlic Chili Oil

Zucchini is my go-to veggie for the grill. The way it browns and softens over the coals makes it irresistible in both looks and taste. I've always thought a little olive oil, salt, black pepper, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes is all you need to make it perfect, but recently wanted to expand on the classic. I introduced some new flavors with Parmesan cheese and garlic chili oil (my Sauced column this week) which only left me loving it more. More

Oven-Fried Chicken Wings al Pastor

Al pastor on its own is pretty awesome, but on chicken wings—now that's something special. Guajillo and chipotle chiles give the baked wings an earthy heat, while pineapple, cilantro, and lime add freshness to create a combination that's hard to beat. This also marks our first post of Wing Week! Every day this week we'll be sharing a different non-Buffalo wing recipe for your Super Bowl parties next week. More

Habanero-Brined Roasted Turkey

For the family who worships fiery food, this is a way to relish spiciness for Thanksgiving. Soaked in a habanero-filled brine, this turkey packs a punch you won't soon forget. If the family isn't totally on board for a spicy turkey, then pare down the brine recipe and use it for a chicken instead. More

Snapshots from Sunday's Slice Meet-Up

Yesterday we had a Slice meet-up for A) the heck of it and B) well, to celebrate Slice's 7-year anniversary (October 13, for those keeping score at home). We met at DBA bar in the afternoon with the idea that Slice would order some pies in and that Slice'rs would bring a pie (or pies) from their local fave — or even make one of their own — to share. After a slow start, a nice-size crowd showed up — about 16 total, with five pizzerias represented — Rosario's on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; Sam's of Cobble Hill,... More

Grilling: Keftedes

What seemed like a ton of onion, garlic, oregano and mint in proportion to the meat at first, ended up being just the right amount of flavor to make these meatballs taste distinctly Greek. Although they didn't necessarily need the accompanying tzatziki and lemon to make them delicious, put altogether, they were outstanding. More

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party 2010 in Photos

The Eighth Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party rolled into town this past weekend, bringing along seventeen different pitmasters from all over the country—representing the the diversity that is American barbecue. As each pitmaster focused their attention on only their one strongest item, the barbecue found at the event truly represented the best of the best. More

Guide to Grilling: Gauging the Heat

To become a true "Master of the Flames," you'll need to know how to own a fire. Gauging and controlling the temperature is crucial in delivering the just right heat to your food—luckily, one of the easiest way to determine this is always at hand (literally). Just hover your hand above the cooking grate and count the seconds it takes until you're positive your skin will melt off. With the findings, you can determine if the heat is at high, medium, or low, and which foods should be cooked at each. More

Dinner Tonight: Velvet Chicken

The "velvet" in the title alludes to the chicken's texture after it emerges from the pot. While some poached chicken recipes come out stringy and tough, this one is cooked in a liquid that's barely simmering for 30 minutes. The result is perfectly cooked chicken that's beautifully tender and aromatic thanks to a particularly flavorful cooking liquid. More

Serious Heat: A Guide to Chile Substitutions

What to do when you don't have the right chile. You know the drill. You've clipped or printed out a recipe that's supposed to be tonight's dinner. Except, the grocery store betrays you—not having those few essential items you need. As an editor at Chile Pepper magazine, for me that usually means a certain chile necessary to test or develop a recipe. For example, in certain regions, some chiles like cayenne are impossible to find fresh. The key to finding an adequate chile replacement is knowing its heat level, sweetness, and smokiness. We pooled our resources to come up with a substitution guide for whole chiles. While it focuses on whole fresh or dried chiles, you can always use a... More

The Best in the West: Nugget Rib Cook-off in Sparks, Nevada

"Pitmasters here represent the entire nation." [Photographs: Joshua Bousel] I had the most perfect Labor Day planned, a lazy afternoon next to the smoker filled with pork, some beers, and close friends. That was until I received an invitation to visit the The Best in the West: Nugget Rib Cook-off in Nevada. After a second pause contemplating whether I wanted to alter my ideal holiday, I thought better of my reservations, and before I knew it, I was on a plane headed for a weekend of pure barbecue bliss. If you're an East Coaster like myself, the Nugget Rib Cook-off may not sound familiar, but for the pitmasters and attendees alike, it's the biggest event of the year. The six-day... More

Saag Paneer

I couldn't find one saag paneer recipe that resembled another. I went for a rather simple, almost comfort-food version, but you can jack the spices way up if you'd like.... More