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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.

Serious Entertaining: Ramps Ramps Ramps Ramps Ramps

What, no recipe for ramps, ramps, ramps, ramps, ramps, ramps, baked beans, ramps, ramps, ramps and ramps?

Where to eat in Nashville & Chattanooga

Chattanooga only:

I assume you mean mostly close to downtown and not outlying areas -- if otherwise please say so. If I miss a specific cuisine or style, mention that as well.

Of the entries above, Milk and Honey is primarily a good coffee and gelato shop but does some good breakfast dishes including what may be the best bagels in town (which doesn't say much for the town); Terminal Brewhouse as noted is correct and I've heard good things about Tremont Tavern but haven't tried it yet.

These are in random order:

Chinese: Most are buffets and therefore not so good. Exception: Red Ginger at Dayton & Signal Mountain Blvds. Standard American Chinese menu but executed pretty well. If they're not too busy they'll make what you ask for. Sushi isn't bad but not great either.

Vegetarian-friendly: Good Dog on Frazier Ave. (hot dog joint but everything available in vegetarian, even dogs; many styles plus roll your own), Farmer's Daughter on Hixson Pike and I've heard Cashew on River St on the North Shore does tasty vegan but haven't yet tried it.

Dining on the river: The Boathouse on Riverside Drive. Hands down. Good food & drinks, not too expensive, casual, great river view.

Bait: Totto, Sushi Nabe (both on the North Shore) and Sekisui (Houston near 11th) all have competent fish-pickers (fresh and flavorful). Nabe's been around forever (for a reason), Totto is probably cheaper but the rolls weren't very well balanced (2 years ago or so) and Sekisui is a chain. We don't do teppanyaki so can't advise.

Greek: Opa is a tiny place (15 seats max) on the North Shore with a limited island-style menu but the flavors are those we've had in the Greek islands. Go at an off hour as it's just one guy.

Mexican: We don't like TexMex so can't help with that, but Ovalle's is more authentic Mexican with dishes from all around Mexico. The mole is superb. Score a fresh-corn tamale if you can. WAY out Broad street in the remains of an old motel.

Tourist District: Sitar's web site is obnoxious and the buffet is bland but if you order off the menu you'll have GOOD Indian food from all across India. OK for people who don't handle hot & spicy well as they'll steer you safely. If you ask for "Indian hot" you'll have to insist and you'd better mean it. A "name your protein" Korma is a good place to start. If you can tolerate some spice heat, try a Biryani. Big River Grille and Blue Water Grille are members of the CraftWorks family (which also includes Gordon Biersch) but headquarters is in Chattanooga which helps. They do a surprisingly good job for chains in a tourist area. In the same area are the much tastier but pricier Easy Bistro and Hennen's.

Have fun!

Unbelievably small "total time" in SE recipes (you, Kenji!)

I see no rant here, just a request for improvement supported by evidence.

Crack that curry! But why?

Thanks. I keep coconut oil on hand but rarely coconut milk.

I get frying the paste but never understood cracking the coconut cream.

Now I see it's about what ingredient is handy.

It reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) story of the cook who, after 30 years of cutting the tip off the roast finally asks her mother why we do that:

"When you were growing up the oven was too small to hold the roast if we didn't"

Crack that curry! But why?

Why wouldn't I just fry the spices in coconut oil and add coconut water later and reduce? And how much flavor does the coconut water add? Maybe skip entirely?

First-world Grape Jam Opportunity

Happy to help... and as you might imagine, the variations are endless.

Whatever you end up doing, please tell us about it.

Cooking Brown Rice...Oil Included?

I don't, but I know that some folks will brown rice and/or pasta before steaming/boiling to add flavor.

Ain't that the base of Rice-A-Roni?

First-world Grape Jam Opportunity

Take this opportunity to develop a signature sauce for roasted critter.

Put some jam in a saucepan and start heating. Dilute with something acid (lime/lemon juice, wine), stir in salty umami (soy, vegemite, ...) and savory herbs/spices to taste.

When happy write it down.

This is my favorite trick for recovering from over-roasted critter. A friend was in tears over an overdone pork loin but a sauce like this one made it the hit of her dinner.

Behind the Scenes in Max's Home Kitchen

@Max, That's a pity; I'm always looking for a good Calvados. The best I've found so far is the 1980 Domaine Dupont.

Behind the Scenes in Max's Home Kitchen

Tell us more about the Calvados... a really great one is hard to find.

Behind the Scenes in Max's Home Kitchen

Tell us more about the Calvados; a really great one is hard to find.

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.