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lil_brown_bat

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Prime Rib

All this seems completely academic to me. I might care, if I could afford it :-(

How to Make the Best Swedish Meatballs

Interesting timing, I made a batch just the other day using my grandmother's recipe. Stale bread soaked in water and drained, one pound ground beef, one egg, some ground pepper and salt and a pinch of allspice. She used to pan-fry 'em but I browned 'em in the oven in a dutch oven. Then removed the meatballs, deglazed the pan with beef broth, mix flour and water and whisk in, more broth, more flour if needed, adjust spices, add meatballs, yer done.

On the subject of tradition: I think that back in the day the old girl probably used a beef/pork/veal or pork/veal mixture by preference, but it's a "work with what's available" recipe really. Meat of any kind was scarce during the Depression so there was plenty of bread in the mix, and I doubt she had any beef broth to use either. She would be the last person to balk at using other options if they were available, though. So, these were the meatballs I grew up on, and I love them, but I'll definitely try some of these other approaches.

A Cookie a Day: Rugelach

Oh man, I do love this recipe. Awesome and dangerous, because once you've made a bunch of these rugelach logs, you can just kinda cut off a few and bake 'em up for a snack.

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes That Travel Well

I got it easy this year, I'm on the hook for red wine and truffles ;-)

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Brining Chicken or Turkey

"A traditional brine will plump up your turkey with moisture, but that moisture is mainly water, leading to a turkey that tastes watered down."

It leads to a turkey whose flesh is a nasty, gelatinous, salt-water mush. Dry-brine in moderation, yes. Wet-brine is a lot of work for an inferior result.

Easy Stovetop Cherry Grunt (Stovetop Cobbler)

Frozen sour cherries are impossible to find. Other than that, sounds awesome.

Maple Syrup Caramels

These were excellent, but I need to tweak based on my ingredients. I used raw cream from a local dairy that is waaaaay heavy on the butterfat. The end result was maybe a little TOO buttery! So, next time around I might either cut the cream with some milk, or maybe cut down the butter, I don't know. Also made without maple extract, and found that they didn't have a real maple flavor, but if I can get some natural maple syrup I'll try with that.

Use This Stovetop Method for an Easy, No-Bake Fruit Crisp

Boo hazelnuts. Streusel does not have nuts in it.

The Best Spiced Nuts From Trader Joe's

Oh yeah, they have lots of options...as long as you can eat tree nuts. They USED to have flavored peanuts. Not any more. TJ's, you SUCK!

It's 2014 and Spatchcocking Is Still the Fastest, Easiest, Best Way to Roast a Turkey

I was a skeptic and did this last year out of sheer desperation (turkey ended up being MUCH larger than what I'd ordered). Apart from not being able to get stuffing in the bird (because the bird no longer has any insides), it was the best ever. Everybody loved it, and being a bunch of grown up children, we all had a merry time sitting around, drinking adult beverages, watching James Bond movies and shrieking, "SPATCHCOCK!" at random intervals for the long, long 2 3/4 hours the bird took to cook.

Forget Mac 'n' Cheese. Say Hello to Creamy, Cheesy Baked Risotto

This will be nice for gluten-free folks!

The Rise of Awesome Milk Chocolate

@Max Falkowitz I've always been a huge fan of Michel Cluizel. Also, see if you can get hold of Askinoisie - I have only had their dark stuff and love it, but they've got some dark milk as well.

The Rise of Awesome Milk Chocolate

I'm surprised Michel Cluizel didn't get a mention.

But then, he's not located in Brooklyn.

Sunday Supper: Beef, Onion and Porter Stew

This was much more soup-y than stew-y, but came together nicely with some added thickener. Very very tasty.

Tacos de Canasta: How to Make the Perfect Potluck Taco

Why not just wrap a stack of tortillas in plastic wrap and nuke 'em for a short while (about 30 seconds)? They're plenty pliable and much less time and work than any other method?

Cook the Book: Millionaire's Shortbread

Holy sweet mother, that's almost a pound of butter and two cans of sweetened condensed milk, for a 6x6inch square??? Madness.

Win a Copy of 'Baked Occasions'

I'll choose Thanksgiving, since it's coming up. I make a cranberry pie - not cranberry-apple, not cranberry-peach, just straight up cranberry. It has a crumb topping that gives just enough sweetness, and the cranberries have the most wonderful pop. It's a great pie!

Sunday Supper: Beef, Onion and Porter Stew

Well, it's not done yet, but so far so good. I used a stout instead of the porter (Lefty's Irish-style stout, it's what I had on hand) and I thought it might be overwhelming, but it seems spot on. Gonna try marinating it next time, but I really like that this can be throw together fairly quickly, minus cooking time, and a small number of pantry ingredients -- a great "snowbound" recipe.

Knife Skills: How to Cut a Pineapple Like a Badass

"How to cut your pineapple like a badass": that's fascinating. I've actually never cut a badass, but I've always wanted to.

The Secrets of Cantonese Cooking, America's First Chinese Cuisine

Oh, you picked out some of my very favorite dishes -- especially the feet. Lovely!

Microwave Rocky Road Sponge Cakes

Hey people, some of you could really be a bit more charitable toward your fellow human being. Just sayin'.

It sounds like an intriguing recipe. I have to admit that I probably won't make it as written, because the main appeal of the microwave to me is convenience (think mug brownie), and if I have to use the food processor, it's a lot less convenient. But hey, that's egg whites for ya -- no getting around it.

The Serious Eats Field Guide to Chinese Pastries

I love pork floss buns. It's my once a week AM treat.

Kitchen Hack: Use a Guitar Mount to Store Your Pizza Peels

Pizza peels, plural? This is a thing?

Win a Copy of 'Huckleberry'

Taste Test: Is Domestic Parmesan Cheese Worth Using?

"There is a big difference between "the best" and what might be good enough for various applications. Do you really need "the best," most nuanced cheese if, for example, you're using it as part of the blend for a lasagna?"

I never tried that exact test, myself. It might work with a domestic "parmesan". What I do know, though, is that when I want Parmesan specifically (as opposed to "some cheese with my whatever"), I have yet to find a domestic "parmesan" that does the job. Maybe one is out there!

Sangria recipe?

I had Sangria the other night, for the first time in a long time. I'd forgotten how much fun it can be. I'm looking for a red sangria recipe that's light-bodied and somewhat silly, if you get my meaning. Any favorites?

Make your own smoothie mix?

Has anyone experimented with making your own smoothie mix or concentrate, for the sake of convenience? My idea is, you do all the measuring/chopping/peeling/whatever at once, blend it up, portion and freeze it, and then it's ready to use in a more convenient fashion. Thoughts on this?

Cake house?

I've never made a gingerbread house because, from what I understand, in order to get structural integrity, the "gingerbread" basically has to be like spiced drywall. It's kind of like those awful weaponized decorated cookies that corporate clients send in "thank-you" baskets, and that poison half the support staff (the only ones silly enough to try and eat them).

But I digress. Wanting to make something festive and yet edible, I thought: why not make a house out of cake? Just make some rectangular layers, cut 'em, stack 'em, make a roof, cover with icing and festoon with candies. Woohoo! That would work, right? Has anybody actually done it? Any tips, gotchas, etc.?

TIA,

Unexpectedly Large Turkey

My insane co-Thanksgivingers had requested a 20 pound turkey. I succeeded in talking them down to 16 pounds (still way too large, but you choose your battles), and that is what I ordered, but you get what you get with these special-order fresh local all-volunteer turkeys. Now I've got this 22 pound ornithopter masquerading as a turkey sitting in my refrigerator. Do I a)go with my original plan (stuff it and roast it, however long it takes), b)do something insane like attempt to spatchcock it (with no prior experience and no poultry shears and a strong doubt that I'll have a pan big enough to go under it), or c)something altogether different? Debate. Discuss.

Pomegranate arils in dark chocolate - how to?

Being a fan of both pomegranate and dark chocolate, I tried combining them, with pretty good results. I extracted the apils and did the standard trick with the bowl of water to get rid of the pith, then drained them, then spread them out and air-dried them as best I could with a fan. Then I melted the chocolate (Callebaut 70% bittersweet) in a double boiler until almost melted, removed from heat and stirred smooth. Then I added the apils.

I was trying to avoid having the chocolate seize, and things looked pretty good for a bit, but then, ZAP! Seized chocolate. I returned the double boiler to the pan and very gently warmed it until things loosened up, then spread on parchment. Results were good*, but I'm wondering if I could have done anything else to avoid having the chocolate seize. Any ideas?

*By "good", I mean that it was a reasonably good execution, above and beyond the inherent awesomeness of pomegranate and dark chocolate.