I'm a gardening woman who loves comfort food and new food. I love to cook and eat seasonally. As a young woman I used to make all my own bread, put food by, cooked from scratch. Am returning to that more and more.

  • Website
  • Location: Vermont
  • Favorite foods: Tomatoes, potatoes, rice and beans, sour cream, chocolate, apple pie, roast chicken, pizza, cheese, avocados, root beer floats, onions, moxie, pickles, buttered toast with cinnamon sugar, bacon, BLT's, bananas, mushrooms, summer squash, maple syrup
  • Last bite on earth: mushrooms sauteed with butter, salt and pepper

Latest Comments

Sichuan-Style Wontons in Hot and Sour Vinegar and Chili Oil Sauce (Suanla Chaoshou)

Thanks Kenji - It could be a monitor issue I suppose, though I haven't noticed it before. I like your photographic approach and have never noticed anything I didn't like.

I think the single wonton would have popped more if the other wontons were even more out of focus. The yellow cast doesn't bother me because the greens looked okay, and I otherwise have no way of knowing what the color should have been. I just figured the chili oil had colored the wonton skins.

Sichuan-Style Wontons in Hot and Sour Vinegar and Chili Oil Sauce (Suanla Chaoshou)

Kenji - yup, it's what I mean. I do know that one wonton is in focus, but - perhaps because it glistens so much - it doesn't really appear to be in focus as much as it is, and there's not enough focus contrast with the rest of the bowl to look entirely intentional. Certainly don't remember you're doing this before. In fact, "the photo seems perfectly in focus" is really about one wonton, not the photo, being in focus. And there are always ways around depth of field problems, if you want the whole bowl in focus. There's not that much depth of field.

On the shrimp cocktail, I think I'm more bothered by what appears to be overexposure (white-outs) especially in the avocado. Looks like the effect of an outdoor photo without a polarizing filter.

Thanks for your response. This is not a big deal, obviously. Glad to know it's not an intentional trend.

Sichuan-Style Wontons in Hot and Sour Vinegar and Chili Oil Sauce (Suanla Chaoshou)

Et tu Kenji?

After offering a comment about the out of focus (and overexposed) photo for the Mexican Shrimp Cocktail I was scrolling down the new page and noticed there were more photos that would never have been accepted for Photograzing, much less the main posts.

So I came to this and thought "why doesn't Kenji just take the pictures," and found that you did. So apparently this is a new style choice. Not overwhelmingly in favor of it, and don't see that it makes the food more appealing. (Glad the how-to photos are in focus!) Nuf said. Peace. Recipe looks great, as always.

Pass the Ketchup: How to Make Better Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail

Was astonished to see this photo pop up at the top of the relaunch. I realize having some of the picture out of focus is in vogue, but there is really no part of this picture that is in sharp focus. Maybe this was designed for mobile access? The defects aren't as noticeable in the smaller version - but in full screen size it's pretty glaring. Also badly overexposed, which washes out both the avocado and the shrimp.

Hate to be negative, but I'm pretty this would never have been accepted for Photograzing, and so it shouldn't have been accepted here.

Like Mushroom Pizza? We're Gonna Take You to Funghitown

It doesn't look to me like there's enough caramelization of the mushrooms for my taste. I'd probably bake with the duxelle and cheese (and get a little caramelization of the cheese, too), then add caremlized mushrooms when it comes out of the oven.

"mushrooms sauteed with butter, salt and pepper" has long been my "last bite on earth" on my profile.

Zucchini Is a Terrible Pizza Topping! (Unless You Treat It Right)

TimedEating: Great idea! Though I think I'd try it with the whole shebang - onion, green pepper, tomato (all 3 of which I usually put on my pizzas)and zucchini and eggplant pureed and used instead of tomato sauce.

La Maison Sacre - and, PUPPIES!!

Zucchini Is a Terrible Pizza Topping! (Unless You Treat It Right)

Prawo Jazdy - Reading Harold McGee I learned that old celery is likely to contain DNA-damaging toxins caused Psoralens. McGee says of Psoralen-generating vegetables (which include celery, celery root, parsley, and parsnips) - they "should be bought as fresh as possible and used quickly."

This was news to me, and I used to let it deteriorate in my crisper too, and still use it. no more.

Zucchini Is a Terrible Pizza Topping! (Unless You Treat It Right)

Kenji - while you're trying out new summer pizza combinations, consider flat beans (like romano beans), one of my favorites. I blanch the beans first, but I'm sure there's a more flavorful prep. I usually use a bed of caramelized onions with a touch of garlic, then beans in inch long pieces, topped with cheese on hand.

Zucchini Is a Terrible Pizza Topping! (Unless You Treat It Right)

Free Radical: Each of us has our own little area of interest and sometimes knowledge: I believe it's "jibe with" you're looking for, not "jive with" - though if you want to jive with osmosis I'd be interested in seeing a youtube of that. :0)

The Serious Eats Tomato Shopping Guide

Love sungolds. "A few" will potentially overwhelm you, as they're very prolific. Not sure where you got this info: "they remain a bit more firm than the average cherry tomato, meaning they travel especially well." They are extremely prone to splitting, and do NOT travel well, which is why you so seldom see them, in either stores or farmer's markets. They are so outstanding that if they traveled better they would be ubiquitous.

The green zebras in the picture are not ripe. If you grow them, wait to pick until some of the light green has turned yellow.

Howard Li: Love Brandyboys (one of the Burpee "boy" series, like big boy, better boy, lemon boy). They taste as good as brandywines, I think, and are much more prolific and disease resistant. Rose is another heirloom pink beefsteak, offered by Johnny's Seeds, which I think is also the equal of brandywine but more prolific.

Subtle Steps Lead to the Best Tabbouleh Salad

I freeze from the garden packets of tabbouleh ingredients for the winter, and I've used the water that drains from the frozen tomatoes for soaking the bulgur. I find that it adds a cooked tomato flavor to the salad though, and prefer not to use it. Consider your own preferences once you've tried it this way.

I think you would not find so much liquid at the bottom of the salad if you did not use this much oil. The lemon juice is necessary, but the salad only needs a small amount of oil (no more than a Tablespoon, I find) to glisten the salad.

I prefer a little cucumber, and more bulgur, and am aiming for my own taste rather than authenticity, but I appreciate your pursuing this recipe. And a great "tabbouleh like" salad can be made with basil added to augment or replace the parsley. I always add mint.

The Good Bagel Manifesto

Buttered bagel halves toasted (pan fried) in a skillet are divine. Not the same item as a bagel toasted in a toaster of any kind. Because of the geometry of the bagel (don't know why it does this), the bagel half becomes concave when sliced, and so - even when weighted down with something - the rim of the bagel half will become crunchy and brown while the rest of the bread becomes lightly toasted. Doesn't need anything else at this point, but cream cheese is fine. This is a very good thing to do if you find yourself with a day old bagel.

No caraway seeds.

I have a reasonable if not great owner run bagel shop in my Vermont town, perhaps due to proximity to Montreal. At any rate, line runs out the door at 6:30am.

Why a Bottle of Japanese Iced Tea is the Ultimate Summer Refresher

Max - it would be great if these were available from vending machines, but in the meantime, as you said "it's a chore" to find them, brewing your own makes great sense. Either a tea bag in cold water, or brewing up a gallon and storing in fridge, to dispense into sports drink bottles.

I prefer mint tea, myself, and just steep a bunch of mint (from my garden. Even in a pot on the balcony it will be prolific) with the tea, strain out, and it makes incomparable mint tea.

Children of the Corn: Baby Corn, Demystified

Octopod - how many ears most corn produces depends on the spacing and fertility more than whether you pick the first ears. And most varietites will only produce two and occasionally three ears (hence the suggestion in Niki's article to let the first ear grow and the second to be picked as baby corn.)

I grow corn every year, and most corn, when it's baby size, is not filled out the way baby corn is. I've never quite figured that out. But there is one variety, Mirai, which Park Seeds used to market exclusively as baby corn, and which they now market as a full size corn without mention of baby corn status. If you were interested in growing only baby corn I'd try this variety, and space the plants closer together, say 6 inches. I'm sure a good session with google would tell you more about growing baby corn.

15 Carrot Recipes for Spring

I'm curious about where anybody is getting "fresh spring carrots." Texas, California, the Gulf Coast? Most of the country has only just planted spring carrots or is only getting ready to.

Taste Test: The Best Supermarket Bacon

Astonished that Oscar Mayer came in first. I tried it once and found it pretty inedible. I'd been buying a higher end local bacon (McKensies), which I like, and then the meat man at my local market suggested I buy the shur-fine which was on sale. It was much better than the far more expensive bacon I'd been buying, and hugely better than Oscar Mayer. Not sure the coverage of shur-fine, but ought to be available in many affiliated stores in the Northeast.

rickZ beat me to the meat guy comment. And the issue for him isn't just that people may think they're not using nitrites because it says "natural cure" on the pkg, but that - as rickZ said - the amount isn't regulated and the product may not be safe. Rather a big issue.

Equipment: Why it's Worth Buying an Olive Oil Pourer

Kenji - if I understand you correctly you're saying that there's a significant difference in the amount of oxidation from a bottle with a separate pour spout and an olive oil bottle with it's own constricted inner pour cap? Once the bottle is capped there's no additional air going into the bottle, so I'm surprised there's this much difference. Or have I misunderstood you? Have you or has anyone done any tests on this?

My everyday olive oil is California Ranch and I keep it in the original, dark, bottle.

Freeze Fresh Herbs for Long-Term Storage

For mint I often process with sugar and then freeze it. If I just stored it in the pantry the moisture from the mint gradually darkens the mint. But it's great frozen this way, and all ready for fruit salads. I bet this would work well with any herbs you were freezing for sweets.

Drewgriz beat me to it. For those herbs I freeze in water I melt them first. This works especially well with dill and parsley, I find.

For basil I process with oil and freeze. Mostly freeze already made pesto or pesto without the garlic.

The Science of Pie: 7 Pie Crust Myths That Need to Go Away

Kenji - you don't address the flour issue at all, and I'm curious about how pastry flour affects any of your calculations. I've always had perfectly tender and flaky crusts, whether with lard or butter (I admit the lard makes an easier crust), and have attributed that to the pastry flour, which of course doesn't develop as much gluten.

Besides that, the crust will sink onto the top of the pie rather than popping up and leaving a gap (saw an ATK article a couple of years ago that went to great lengths to avoid the gap. All they needed to do was use pastry flour.) (Pictures of the pie at my verfoodie blogspot blog.)

So I'm curious as to why you use All Purpose. Is it just because of the easy availability? You can make pastry flour easily enough by using 2/3 AP to 1/3 cake.

Our Vegan Month Progress, Week 4: Temptation, Cheating, and What We've Learned

@wocowboy: Reading your comment I had to wonder whether you'd read through the repertoire of Kenji's vegan recipes - where nearly everything is NOT a mimicry of nonvegan foods. It is true that this year Kenji has added some foods to satisfy some traditional meat and dairy flavors, but the rest of what you say doesn't apply to this site's vegan recipes.

I realize you may be referring to other vegans you know, but a whole lot of omnivores (attested to by the staff in this report) have been pleasantly surprised by how delicious, satisfying, and worthy vegan eating can be. Not a hardship, except perhaps for the time to prepare a lot of it.

Our Vegan Month Progress: Week 3, Checking Privilege and Staying the Course

I love these updates. They summarize nicely the difficulties many of us have who don't have the resouces - in cash, restaurants or time, to help us along.

Clearly the best solution is for Kenji to get a kick starter going to produce some of his incredible meals as frozen foods for my neighborhood store.

Recipe Update: Even Better Vegan Mushroom 'Bacon'

The mushrooms could always be crumbled onto the pizza when it came out of the oven.

The Vegan Experience: Welcome to Year 4


In order for the cow to give milk she also needs to give birth, and the fate of the calves is not always a good one. So milk is not without consequence to animals other than the cow herself. That's another thing that has to go into the equation. I'm with you on honey.


The Vegan Experience: Welcome to Year 4

Been looking forward to this month all year. I'm only a part-time vegetarian, and since that's for both ethical and health reasons I think I'm better off being vegan than vegetarian when I'm not eating meat. I eat way too much dairy.

(I do wonder if it's possible that eating humanely raised and slaughtered meats (Flying Pigs Farm, for which SE did a profile, comes to mind) actually reduces the suffering to animals as demand prompts more farmers to change their practices. This may be better than a world divided between meat-eaters who don't notice, and people who don't eat meat)

Things I would like to see more of: standard comfort foods redone - mac and cheese, shepherd's pie, goulash, etc

Maybe some basic building blocs that usually have dairy, like bechamel and mornay sauce for when your full-on nacho sauce isn't the ticket. It would great to be armed with the tools for more vegan cooking without necessarily needing full new recipes. "What to use when you usually use..."

Would like to see an enumeration/reminder of how many vegan foods may already be in our own repertoire, and on SE - Good, simple foods like ratatouille, pea soup and other bean soups, baked beans, and so on.

(Cauliflower might figure into your mac and cheese recipe. Well cooked cauliflower has some of the right stinky notes and taste to mimic cheese.)

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Have been thinking more about this. There's nothing on the front cover to say this is a book of recipes. I might think, looking at it, "oh, this is like McGee with pictures," and since I've already got McGee I might pass it by. A really wonderful thing about the Food Lab is that you apply all that science to recipes, not just ingredients. Reminds me, in that regard, of Alton Brown's first book. But there he concentrated on technique more than recipes.

And while that was very useful your repertoire of recipes is so much more comprehensive, inviting, and diverse it deserves more than an egg on the front cover.