Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops

Must admit, I did a wet-brine (for 12 hours, then dried off the chops and let them sit, uncovered, on a rack in the fridge, for another 18). Followed Kenji's gospel and I'll be damned: These are certainly the best pork chops I've ever made, and possibly the best I've ever et. I have found the only chop recipe I need. THANKS!

The Best Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Man, these are just STUPID good. DIdn't top them with anything, didn't need anything, could have eaten the entire batch. I made them to go with pork chops, but they would be awesome with turkey, chicken, sausages...these are some killer sweet potatoes.

The Food Lab: Slow Cooked Bolognese Sauce

I am SO happy to hear that the cookbook is due out!

As for those who want different terminology, different measurements, why not just do what Americans do when using British or Australian recipes, and look it up? Google, it's a wonderful thing.

Sean Brock's Favorite Cookbooks

What a gracious and clearly intelligent fellow. A pleasure.

The Food Lab: How to Cook Mussels (The Easiest Choose-Your-Own-Adventure One Pot Meal Around)

During the summer, I cook up a mess of mussels and steamer clams almost every week, thanks to a lovely stand at the greenmarket that sells bags of cleaned, wild clams and mussels, ready to go. Because I am grit-phobic, I always purge them, even though I have read that it doesn't work; IME, if I purge the suckers, there's no grit. Do I know for certain there would have been grit if I hadn't? Nope. But it's a sort of Pascal's Wager situation, so I purge, most often with cornmeal, sometimes with flour, in three gallons of water mixed with 1 cup of sea salt. In the fridge overnight. I have read all kinds of things about how this will kill the clams; all I can tell you is, I do it, and they never die.

I love mussels and clams with just about anything, but I am lazy and hungry, so a wacking load of chopped garlic and onions sautéed till golden in the fat from some chopped bacon, plus about a third of a bottle of beer, is my standard go-to. Once in a while I'll make a thick tomato sauce, because summer tomatoes, and also because mussels fa diavolo is about the best thing ever.

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

@big sugi: "his dad's Italian. If he wants to make "chow fun" with wonton skins, that's his right as an American, by gosh"

By gosh and by golly, he can make anything he wants. And he can call it anything he wants, just like I -- who am not Italian, and I'm not sure why that's relevant here, but ok -- would be entirely within my God-given, Constitutionally derived rights to pickle an eggplant and call it gelato.

But it wouldn't be. A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but the reverse is not true: I, who cannot eat wheat products, would be in deep ordure were I to order nice, friendly-sounding chow fun only to find it was made -- thanks purely to the whim of the maker, because it amused him to mess with the eaters -- out of wheat.

And you don't want to know how I would react if I ordered gelato and got eggplant instead.

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

It's a good piece, but I got hung up in the third paragraph, with your dad using "wonton skin" to make chow fun. Chow fun are rice noodles. Wonton skins are made with wheat; they're essentially wheat noodles. Two totally different animals.

How to Make Buttery-Sweet Gluten-Free Corn Cookies

Marquise, as it happens, I have been diagnosed with celiac, so I'm now gluten-free. And for many years, I was a diabetic controlling my blood sugar with diet, which meant I was very definitely part of the "carb-cutting set." Just because you don't personally struggle with a given issue does not mean it's cool to demean those who do.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

I'm a VANILLA egg-cream girl, and the best, for my money, was at the late and much lamented Dave's Luncheonette, on Canal Street. Hey, it was immortalized by Lou Reed. I spent one hot, sticky summer -- back in the paleolithic era -- working nearby, and the highlight of my day was lunch, which was invariably one of Dave's incomparable dogs, crisp and snappy off the grill, and a vanillucious egg cream.

Ideas in Food vs. Linguine alle Vongole: Part 2

FWIW, I really like this series, and I really like the Ideas in Food blog. And I have both of their books and am eagerly anticipating the next.

I don't think it's necessary to make the entire dish, as presented, in order to derive real value from the series, which at heart is about technique rather than particular recipes. Will I make the clam dish? Probably not; I don't much like spicy food. But I LOVE clams and hate shucking them, so learning about cryo-shucking is incredibly valuable for me. I have very definitely been disappointed by the wan flavor of the berries I buy, so learning how to amp up the flavor with dried berries is something I find really useful, whether or not I ever make the entire dessert.

I'm a "word" person, and I can well understand being irritated by what feels or seems like a misuse of language. In this instance, I'd say it would be too bad to allow that irritation to cut you off from the aspects of the series that you might enjoy or find genuinely useful.

The Food Lab Redux: How to Make Orange and Sesame Chicken at Home

Timberbt, a lot of old-school Chinese recipes use water-chestnut flour (sometimes called water-chestnut powder) rather than cornstarch. I would definitely give that a try; you can get it from the Evil Empire or a well-stocked health-food store (or a good Asian store, if there's one near you; I bought mine in Chinatown). Another option might be kuzu (or kudzu) starch, same sources; this is beloved of Paleo folks, and it's reputed to have some health bennies as well as making for crispitude.

How to Make Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta

I have a very bad -- as in, several days hanging out in the bathroom -- response when I eat more than a small amount of anything made with wheat flour. I have no idea if it's a sensitivity to gluten or a sensitivity to wheat, but it sure as hell is a sensitivity to SOMETHING and all I know is, many of my symptoms disappear when I stop eating that stuff. So, I don't eat it. Mr. Whatsit, the Father of Gluten Whatever, can kiss my grits -- the ones I eat with my eggs, instead of toast.

One-Skillet Crispy Salmon with Mustardy Lentils

Yeah, I would use lentils-cooked-from-dried as well, and straight Dijon (don't like whole-grain mustard, but could eat Dijon with a spoon). And possibly a little cream, because that's the way I roll. But this sounds delicious, and I think I'm gonna make it soon.

Wild Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Thighs With Fingerling Potatoes and Green Olives

Oh man, this sounds...this is going on the agenda, pronto. But I think I will use skin-on thighs, partly because I do love me some crisp skin, and partly because I think they'll look more appetizing.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcakes

I wouldn't discard the leftover dough, but man, those leftover HB eggwhites would be in the trashcan in a New York minute.

Grilled Stuffed Flank Steak With Scallions, Ginger, and Teriyaki Glaze

I don't hate my apartment, but I do hate the lack of any outdoor space. Kenji, if you read this, do you think the Searzall will function like a grill for something like this? I've been trying to get an answer as to whether it will cook (rather than merely putting a sear on something already booked), but so far, no luck. And MAN would I like to make this puppy!

What are NYC's Most Overrated Restaurants?

Norma's USED to be great, though they always served ridiculously huge portions. But I remember pulling all-nighters and going there for breakfast and being incredibly happy -- delicious, perfectly cooked eggs, hash browns, great smoothies. I took a visitor there a few years ago, and was so embarrassed; it was awful. The eggs were overcooked, the toast was stale (clearly toasted ahead of time), the smoothie was nauseatingly sweet, and they don't even OFFER has browns any more; the only breakfast potatoes available are like, boiled. Who wants boiled potatoes for breakfast? Horrible.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

DYING of the cute! How much do I crave Pixel? I actually want her more than one of those burgers and ears of corn that Kenji is busy frying up. But you can keep the French toast.

The Food Lab: Maximize Flavor by Ultra-Smashing Your Burger

Kenji, it's great to hear about Harlem Shake, and I'll be there, I swear. BUT, ONION RINGS, baby! And TOTS! I mean, damn, if I'm going to do the deep-fried thing, I don't want to settle for fries; I want the real deal. Rings and tots. Oh, and avocado and caramelized onions as optional add-ons, plz.

Easy Broiled Miso-Marinated Black Cod

Oops, my apologies for the double post!

Easy Broiled Miso-Marinated Black Cod

I've had a similar dish at EN Japanese Brasserie (and can I give them a shout out? LOVE that restaurant!), and they make the skin crisp, which adds just another layer of delicious. What would you think about either broiling this skin-side up or turning it halfway through? Or maybe even blowtorching the skin after broiling skin-side down?

Easy Broiled Miso-Marinated Black Cod

I've had a similar dish at EN Japanese Brasserie (and can I give them a shout out? LOVE that restaurant!), and they make the skin crisp, which adds just another layer of delicious. What would you think about either broiling this skin-side up or turning it halfway through? Or maybe even blowtorching the skin after broiling skin-side down?

Odessa's Blintzes Eat Like Crepes, But We Love Them Anyway

The blintzes that Russ & Daughters sells are delicious, and remind me of my grandmother's (one of the two things she could cook). Whenever I'm on the LES, I pick up a couple dozen and stick'em in my freezer; they freeze very well.

Xi'an Famous Foods is Coming to the Upper West Side

Oh, I'm so thrilled. It gets so damn irritating, hearing about one great-sounding restaurant after another opening downtown or in Brooklyn. Thank GAWD someone's showing the UWS a little lamby love.

A Sandwich a Day: Beef on Weck at Top Round Roast Beef, Los Angeles

I am a big fan of this site's, and have been for years. But I'm an even bigger fan of language, and it pisses me off to see it shabbily and lazily treated. And the fact that "everyone is doing it" is no excuse, as your mother surely told you: If everyone else in your class jumped off the roof, would you want me to say that you could jump along with them? And on a slightly more serious note, are Billy and meat and monopod honestly trying to fly the flag for stupidity? I may have gotten my knickers in a twist over a minor point of translation, but defending lazy work and sub-par thinking strikes me as a lot less laudable.

Traditional Brit Christmas Cake in NYC

There used to be a fabulous bakery on the Upper East Side that made these -- dense fruitcakes covered in homemade marzipan. I adored them, but alas, the bakery has disappeared. Is there ANYONE in New York who bakes a genuine British-style Christmas cake? Yeah, I know I could make my own but A) I left it way too late, and B) the one time I tried it was a disaster.

Pie Project Participants! MUCH success!

To everybody who was so generous as to make or donate a pie (or turnovers or mmmmmm empenadas): The Pie Project was a terrific success. In fact, we had so many pies that I am going back tomorrow (the pantry also serves on Fridays) to dish up the leftovers. Many people had seconds, one woman pronounced the pie "absolutely scrumptious," and one gentleman asked me to pass on a particular blessing to the maker of the apple-cranberry with oatmeal topping; he said he hadn't had homemade pie in so long that he had forgotten what made it so good, and he especially wanted to say thank you for reminding him.

So all in all, we did a good thing. My profound thanks to everyone who participated, and to those who wanted to pitch in but found that life got in the way. Happy Turkey Day!


Calling all bakers: Looking to help the hungry this Thanksgiving?

Could you make one extra pie this year? Or maybe a dozen apple turnovers? Every Thursday, the food pantry at Central Synagogue provides a hot meal for 100-120 hungry people, but they don't have the resources to change up their regular menu (beef stew) to include any traditional Thanksgiving foods. It made me sad to think of the pantry's clients being left out of the national feast, so I have volunteered to provide enough pie for all. If you'd like to pitch in to the Pie Project and give a taste of Thanksgiving to some people to don't have much, please contact me at

Terrific Local Products

I have fallen in love with the mozzarella made by the Woodstock Water Buffalo Co. It's delicate and creamy and reminds me of the mozz I was so thrilled to eat in Italy -- about as far from supermarket rubber balls as you can get. The company is shooting for national distribution, but I suspect they're still a Northeast, maybe even a New York, phenom. What fabulous local products have you found for sale in your necks of the woods?

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