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An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

I too have zero interest in Facebook et al. on privacy grounds. I have no problem sharing with the SE community but not the world, especially if my comments are to be used in advertising.

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen?

Yes. I'm pretty paranoid about fire and so haven't had one in decades of cooking but you can't be SURE about everyone else in the household...

Cheap cookware from Chinatown restaurant supply store

A simple example: back when I played at building furniture I needed precision machines to make up for a lack of skills that let a seasoned woodworker use just hand tools.

Restaurants run on incredibly thin margins and must rely on skilled cooks who can get good results despite limited tools.

I have the utmost respect for line cooks; I couldn't do that job on my best day.

Can I freeze chicken tikka masala?

Of course.

The real question is: will you like it once you thaw it? That will depend on how it was thickened and what the other ingredients are.

Try the version you care about in small quantity and report back with results and questions.

Best stores for food souvenirs in New Orleans

Cafe Du Mond brand chicory coffee is often available at Vietnamese restaurants and Asian markets. Check before you lug coffee back.

Beignets don't travel well so make it a point to sample as many different ones as you can so you know what they OUGHT to taste like.

Steaks reverse sear method gone wrong!

I'd:

1) check calibration of the thermometer
2) Stop roasting at 125
3) Maybe not rest before searing
4) worry about if the sear was really only 60 seconds each side.

I usually sous vide in a beer cooler (Kenji's hack) to 125 or so and then sear for 60-90 sec per side on a griddle on the gas BBQ (w/ oil) and am very happy with that.

Steaks reverse sear method gone wrong!

What was the meat's color (or temperature) when you went to eat it?

Knife sharpening for lefties

It never hurts to provide information (it can always be ignored) but I doubt it makes a difference for Western knives as they're usually sharpened with a symmetrical bevel.

Asian knives, however are flat on one side and bevelled on the other. I'll have to leave the question of whether it matters to someone who uses them.

FISH!

Is Ceviche too adventurous? If so, maybe as appetizer? Ours is the usual lime + alliums with warm spices (coriander, ginger, clove) and cayenne to taste, refrigerate at least 1 hour up to overnight.

We like bay scalops.

I don't have a....

Some workarounds:

Dutch oven, cast-iron anything: any pot plus a 1/4" thick aluminum disk to spread heat evenly

standing mixer: keep your arm strong and go to no-knead breads

food processor: a good box grater and a sharp knife fills the bill

kitchen scale: really useful for portion control, baking and modernist cuisine. Fairly cheap these days, but if you don't worry about these, fake it.

ice cream machine: sorry, I rarely do ice cream. Didn't I see no-machine ice cream here not long ago?

any way to sharpen knives: like AnnieNT I can't get around this. 3rd-party sharpening is good, and I'm usually OK with a steel hone for touch-ups and a diamond steel to recover an edge that I've let slip too far (used the same as a hone). Cheap and you probably already know how to use it.

As I get older, though, I find I'm falling back on equipment to cover a failing body.

Any love for soggy fries?

Only as a fritatta ingredient.

A slightly crunchy Burger crust?

"where they weren't" is too easy too overlook.

Passover Side Dish

@zucchini: Thanks: I'm totally stealing adapting this.

Traveling Mac and Cheese questions

I wonder if the Modernist Cuisine M&C would work here. It's alleged not to break even under extreme provocation. Perhaps bring cooked elbows and a jar of cheese sauce, nuke the sauce at site and combine.

Vegetarian and Gluten-Free?

Be sure you know what your coworker means by "vegetarian". There is wide variation, Some variations are:

Vegans are very specific: no animal involvement whatsoever, including no honey, careful use of white sugar (some is whitened on charred bone), etc.

Eggs and milk products are OK

No flesh, but broth is OK

Fish is OK

"White" meats (chicken, modern pork) are OK.

A conversation with your "vegetarian" coworker will both help you understand what's possible and warm the heart of the coworker, as you'll make it clear you actually care.

Wok safety question - post oil fire

Is the paranoia from the fire itself?

How did it hapen? Too hot a flame? Over-filled wok? A momentary inattention that went on too long? Some combination? How did you put it out? Could you do that again if you had to?

The brand and provenance of the wok don't much matter.

Figure out what went wrong and don't do that anymore. You'll be a better cook.

How to Top a Torte?

@Traveler: It's no-foolin' hard for a beginner, but after many ingredient purchases I managed to successfully produce my first and last Princess Torte. They're delicious but not worth the effort for me. That's what Pastry Chefs like @Anna [glad to see you again!] are for.

As for date molasses, I'd look in a shop selling Middle Eastern or maybe Indian ingredients. At a guess, "date syrup" may be related and is easier to find online.

How to Top a Torte?

Perhaps a simple decoration of (flavored) whipped cream?

I remember beating my head in over a Princess Torte in the 70s but I think rolled marzipan over the top is over the top.

Substitution for Korean chili powder in Kimchee

@Les_ah: I don't have a definitive answer for you and would like to hear one.

I don't think the pepper I've tasted in kimchee is as hot as cayenne but it's way hotter than ancho. My guess is that of the choices you mention, New Mexicos, pasillas or cascabels (in that order) are the closest but wait for a better opinion.

Serious Entertaining: Ramps Ramps Ramps Ramps Ramps

@dnnythms, I'm grateful for the In & Out coverage; it's convinced me not to waste time or money on them the next time I'm out west.

Advice for the beginning of a knife collection

Cutting boards: I buy plastic, the largest that will fit into a sink or gishwasher so it can be sanitized easily. People (guests) get weirded out if they see a discolored home cutting board.

For travel, I'm with Zinnia: for short trips you don't need much and for longer ones, buy a cheapo at the destination and expense it. Unless, of course, cooking is the point of the travel.

Advice for the beginning of a knife collection

@Burger365: I was just about to add one to my collection. Do you recommend the flensing tip or not?

Paleo Diet Craze- Love it or leave it?

I generally ignore it but pass recipes that might be tasty and fit within the rules to my neighbor who's into it and claims it helps her.

Paleo probably won't hurt her and clearly the placebin (if nothing else) is helping her.

At least Paleo fadistas are thinking about their diet, however little. It's a start.

Advice for the beginning of a knife collection

I can't tell you much about the best knives, but do have a few words of advice:

If your hands are large, focus on clearance between your hand and the cutting board. If a knife isn't comfortable in your hand in actual use you CAN'T use it well.

International travel implies air travel which in turn implies your knives will be out of your control. While I would love to believe implicitly in the integrity of the airport screeners, I won't bet on it. Don't travel with anything you'd hate to lose.

What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

Separate into florets, dump into bag, add EVOO, garlic and salt, shake, roast until brown. No other sauce needed but feel free.

SImple and always a hit. Feel free to vary seasoning.

email updates withOUT comment

I like the feature that sends me added comments to threads I've commented on.

Is there a way for me to flag a thread that I want to see comments on without adding an inane comment like "Ooh! Ooh! Tell me what's posted!"?

My apologies to those who had Car 54 inflicted on them.

Sous vide burgers ready, but "Not Tonight, Dear." Disaster?

As it turns out, no.

I took them out of the cooler, left them in their bags, put them in the fridge, said three "Hail Kenjis" and went to sleep.

Next day at lunch I opened the bags, wiped off grease and coagulated burger juice, salted them and put them on the oiled griddle on the gas BBQ.

Because they were cold I could let them stay a little longer than usual. Result: great crust, correct color, good burgers at a good temperature.

Note that I like my patties at 9 oz and Marty prefers 6 oz but both were just fine.

The only downside is that I thought they were a tad less juicy than usual. Sounds like a job for Burger Lab.

Kenjiburgers are not only better than what I used to make, they're now all but stress-free. You have to work at it to F*&^ them up.