Husband, dad, medical student, and foodie.

  • Website
  • Location: Utah
  • Favorite foods: Ribeye, molcajete, boeuf bourguignon, pulled pork tacos, carnitas, braised short ribs, papardelle bolognese, etc. etc. etc.
  • Last bite on earth: Papardelle bolognese with pecorino fiore sardo.

Open Thread: What's Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie Texture?

My preference is somewhere between the bottom right and middle left coloring. I pull them out and let them cool as soon as the dough starts to crack.

Open Thread: What's Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie Texture?

I suppose I'm in the minority. I detest crispy chocolate chip cookies. I far prefer a chewy cookie with uniform texture throughout.

BostonAdam and I share the freezer preference. I almost never eat cookies right out of the oven, for the same reason I don't eat a boule right out of the oven; you miss the complexity of flavors and texture when it's too hot.

Favorite regional condiments?

Culinary 'To Do' Lists

My list fluctuates. Some practical stuff, some technical stuff, and a bunch of wild hair type ideas.

First on my list is a cabinet style smoker that is lined with quarry tile, has a remote smoke box, a separate cabinet heating element/control, and zonal temperature control (averaged from several inputs). I'd also like to run it off of raspberry pi so that I can control it from the internet.

Charcuterie fridge a la Matt Wright.

Legit ginger soda akin to Maine Root Brew. I want it to put hair on my chest and light my nose hairs on fire. I've come close to achieving this, but it walks the line between hellfire and tasting like soap (closer to hellfire, though). Not ideal.

Undercabinet mounted keg fridge for whatever force carbonated homebrew soda strikes my fancy. I recently made pho, tamarind/ponzu, pickled ginger/lychee, pomelo/lemongrass and palm sugar/thai chili sodas. Rosemary/meyer lemon and orange/black pepper are recent too. I don't drink alcohol, and I get *so* sick of regular sodas. Especially after seeing so many cool cocktails.

Phoenix: Charred Chile-Topped Burgers at Gallo Blanco

I was taken there for an interview dinner and tried the posole. It was legit.

Scooped: Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

The texture of this ice cream was uh-maze-ing. I tweaked the cookie recipe a bit, including using AP flour (didn't have cake flour at the cabin), and they turned out great too.

Stories of Food Magic

There are several things that will likely always remain dark arts to me.

Millefouille, pho, and a good baguette at home.

Pho vs. Ramen-Which would you choose?

What cruel world art thou dreaming up wherein one can only sup on a single noodle soup?

Blasphemer! Heretic!

FAST- Emergency Pizza Dough

Peter Reinhart's dough rivals most neopolitan style pizza around my neck of the woods. At room temp, it's ready to toss in about 1.5-2hrs. In your proofing box, it is likely to go even faster. I'll find a link tomorrow when in front of my computer.

I typically do it on a stone in a 500F+ oven and it works out nicely. I've also done or grilled and on a smoker, the stone is still my favorite. It's just sturdy enough to handle a decent topping load, and yet still thin enough to be in the quasi-neopolitan camp.

The recipe scales up well, comes together quickly and performs every time.

Congrats to the 2013 James Beard Award Winners

Boo to the fact Kenji did not win.

The Joy and Economics of Cooking Pizza At Home

"I do not think it means what you think it means."

^Kenji, FTW. His rantings and loose logic are indeed, inconceivable.

What is the most expensive/least used tool in your kitchen?

My food processor. It's a necessity when I'm cooking certain things, but it's a pain to get out and clean up after. I use it every month or two.

Cook the Book: 'Try This at Home' by Richard Blais

Bacon jam pop tarts.

Individual Thread Opt Out

This would be a great feature. The best example of where I would use this is in the cook the book giveaways. I don't need to be constantly notified of everyone else trying to win.

Talk, on the other hand, or food lab posts, are often things that I'd like notifications about; rather than having to log in, look at my profile and click through (or search).

This is a pretty standard feature on most forums I visit (food, bikes, medicine, etc.)

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Dry-Aging Beef at Home

@Kenji - I also noticed the mobile site title. Just sent you a screenshot to your SE email.

Fantastic article! What do you think about putting the fan on the bottom so as to free up two racks?

Also, I wait with bated breath for a food lab charcuterie special a la Matt Wright's contraption. I know you've thought about it. I'm sure your fridge has an impressive selection of your own stuff too.

Good Entry Level Food Processor?

I echo what has been said. I bought my kitchenaid 12c from KitchenAid directly on ebay. It was a refurbished one, but got the best marks from ATK about two years ago. I entertained Cuisinart, but after some intense research, it looks like they've gone down hill in a big way over the last 10 years (really since they stopped using the robot coupe motors). I found a metric ton of complaints about them not honoring warranty, etc. I steered clear.

I did a quick search for you, and they are still selling them. Well worth the $130. I've never had a single problem and you get a kitchenaid warranty.

What's on your perfect antipasto plate?

Charcuterie and some funk cheese. +/- olives and veg for me.

What should we do/eat in San Diego?

+1 for Bluewater Seafood. Last time I was in SD, I ate there the first day, and it was so good I rode 1hr of public transit to get back.

El Indio also has legit carnitas (practically next door).

Homemade Goodies for Medical Office?

I'm graduating med school in about 2 months, and I've spent my fair share of time in clinic. I'll often make something to share just to take the edge off during a big clinic.

Nurses, doctors and MAs are *always* happier with good treats. Fruit is a thoughtful treat, but I'd take a sweet/savory/salty treat to a piece of fruit 10:1.

Trust me, I'm 7/8 of a doctor.

Have'a Corn Chips

My wife and our best friends all spent quite a bit of time in SoCal. They get week in the knees for Have'a chips. They were really excited for me to try them for the first time this last summer.

Honestly, I just don't get it.

Cook the Book: 'Classic Snacks Made from Scratch'

ritz crackers with tuna fish.

Zagat's List of America's Best Burgers in 25 Cities

They came up with this list like people who plan out road construction where I live--in drunken conversations with their dogs.

Hires is definitely NOT the best burger in SLC. Crownburger easily beats it now that Eat-a-Burger is gone.

Cook the Book: 'Every Grain of Rice'

Meal Replacer Bars

I started a thread on homemade Lara-esque bars a while back. They are pretty awesome and do serve as a meal replacement.

I've been eating more probars lately though. The koka moka, pistachio and banana varieties are about as good as you could ask for. They are vegan if you care about that (I certainly don't) , and are definitely not a snack but a meal replacement (look at the nutrition).

What foodies are y'all following on Instagram?

This is exactly what I was looking for. Awesome!

Back to the test kitchen...licorice. Tips?

Every once in a while I get a wild hair. Last Christmas it was bacon. Now it's licorice.

I eat soft licorice with reckless abandon. Kookaburra red, Darrell Lea mango, and yes, nibs. We're talking a bag in a sitting.

A while back, I started wondering what it would entail to make licorice, thinking it wouldn't be too bad. I've had a little candy experience, mostly making caramel of various sorts. I was wrong.

First off, there is little information of much use on the interwebs about the subject. I spent a reasonable amount of time looking. Then, I stumbled upon a post from a cheesemaking blog cheeseaday. The author has a link to SE, so right off the bat, he earned some credibility.

He listed a "master recipe" for any type of fruit licorice, stating that he had tried kiwi, mango, and raspberry with great success. The recipe is fairly straightforward, but I managed to botch it the first time trying to make peach.

He uses 1c sugar, 1/2c fruit puree, 3/4tsp citric acid, 1/8tsp salt and 1/2c flour. He mixes everything but the flour and states that you should let it gently come to 265F; just shy of soft crack. He neglects to mention you've got to stir to keep your sugar from scorching.

That produces a confection more like a now-and-later than any licorice I've tasted. It also looks nothing like the picture he posted. When I got up there with two different batches, they both started turning pretty brown. Which was very different from the soft yellow mango to the bright green kiwi and deep red raspberry. The texture is way off of what I'd like it to be, and you can for sure taste the raw flour.

The final product on round two was better than round one, but it still is not what I want. I'll be testing out another batch at a lower temperature, like 220F or less, closer to soft ball territory, to try to achieve the desired texture. I also may muck around with the citric acid a bit and see how much flour I can get rid of.

Any ideas to this point?

I'm losing my faith in the local butcher.

I just finished finals and started on the hunt for the magic ingredient that I've been fantasizing about for the better part of a month: pork belly.

I had planned to cure and smoke bacon for my short list foodie friends for christmas this year, but I've been foiled. There is not a single butcher in the entire Salt Lake Valley who carries or can order pork belly. Wha? I was dumbfounded as I called butcher after butcher and got the "we don't carry that, and we can't even get it" answer.

"Where do you get your bacon from?" I asked.
"Our suppliers sell it to us pre-cut, cured and smoked, in bulk."

Since when did the local butcher become someone who only carries cryovac-ed stuff? My local butchers aren't buying locally, and so the thick cut, "fancy" bacon is really just coming from the likes of Smithfield. Bleh.

I'm entirely disheartened and have had my dreams of home made bacon-y goodness readily dashed on the rocks of mega-farms.

Any Utah SE'ers know where I can get pork belly?

What cookie would you have taken to the SE exchange?

A while back, I began searching for *that* chocolate chip cookie. You know the one. Chewy, gold kissed edges and studded with chocolate chips. I tried quite a few "classic" recipes, my mom's, my mother in law's, SK, CI, Niemann Marcus, and 4 or 5 from SE. The winner for me was a SE cookie from a swap, found here:

I have tweaked it a little more and experimented with several permutations. My favorite so far is the straight up chocolate chip cookie with maldon sea salt. The second is the one I probably would take: oatmeal with white chocolate chips, cherries and pistachios.

What about you?

When was the last time a dish went to hell on you?

For me it was tonight. I took a little bit of a flyer and decided that since I was post call, I'd cook something new. I recently saw a smoked salmon blt on a menu and decided I'd give it a shot.

I fired up the smoker, applied the usual suspects to the salmon and put it in. I lovingly fried up some of my favorite thick cut bacon and sliced up a beautiful brandywine heirloom and got the spring greens ready. I selected some Dave's Good Seed bread and thought I had a slam dunk.

I started out with lovely ingredients. I ended up with a very off putting sandwich. It was offensive, and that's the first time in a long time I've made something truly awful. I knew it was because my wife, who is usually complimentary, was silent. I asked what she thought and she just shook her head.


I screwed up the salmon. My wife had asked me to run some errands with her when I was planning on cooking the salmon. I should have stuck with my gut and stayed home. Instead, I decided to go with her and try to cook it a little faster. The texture/doneness of the fish was not bad, but something went horribly wrong with the garlic in the rub.

It wasn't burned, and it looked like it had turned the lovely caramel color I'm used to seeing. It was incredibly acrid. To make matters even worse, I made a sandwich for my parents and sent them with my mom for their dinner.

I'm certainly not perfect, and I have both good and bad days in the kitchen. This, however, was reminiscent of when my wife and I were first married and she decided to make crab cakes from Simple Living with imitation crab and potato chips. Nothing could have saved that meal. It is the only thing my wife has cooked that we've thrown away after one bite and gone out for dinner. (thankfully, she now is able to read a recipe and suss out whether or not it will be good; and she knows that imitation crab is always the wrong answer).

When was the last time you felt like an utter failure in the kitchen?

What is the most thoughtful food gift you've received?

There are only 4 people who I would give a culinary carte blanche. I'd eat whatever they cooked and take any food recommendation they made. They are my culinary kindred spirit/brotha from anotha motha Fish, my friend/chocolatier/creative genius/classmate Linh, Alton Brown and Kenji (I've never met Kenji or AB, but I've cooked enough/read enough to know they are legit).

I got home from a long day of work (5:30am - 7:30pm) in the hospital and opened up the fridge. I was truly exhausted. As I scanned the fridge looking for something tasty, I saw two things that I immediately knew were from Linh. A huge bunch (think bouquet size) of basil, rosemary, mint, thyme, oregano and sage from her garden. She's got an amazing garden. While I was excited about that, it didn't even come close to the next item.

Carefully packaged with a little note, I saw 12 dark chocolate truffles. I read the note and was even more excited.

A while back, Linh had told me that she was planning on making a signature truffle for each of the people in her life that are important to her. She made an espresso/fernet dark chocolate truffle for her brother and bounced a few ideas around for other people. The package was full of my signature truffle. She took my favorite flavors and created a masterpiece. It is honestly the best food item containing chocolate I've ever eaten.

Red wine dark chocolate ganache swirled with rosemary caramel, enveloping a piece of smoky, thick cut bacon, dipped in Peter's burgundy and topped with mediterranean sea salt.

I was speechless (which is rare). So thoughtful, so perfect, so me.

What's the best food gift you've been given?

Mexican and/or southwestern meal. 8 courses. Suggestions.

One of my buddies and I do a quarterly 8 course 8 guest meal. We've done all kinds of cuisines, and this time I'm doing Mexican/southwestern. I'd love any suggestions/recipes you'd be willing to impart. I'm going to make it all from scratch.

Gauc, homemade salsa & chips
Queso fresco quesadillas
Yucatan chicken soup
Beef taquitos
Chile verde, cilantro lime rice, black beans

Other items I'm considering: tamales, rellenos, queso fundido, tongue tacos.

KitchenAid Grinder Attachment - Yay or Nay? Kenji?

To quote the dropkick murphy's, "there comes a time in everyman's life, when decisions have to be made. Whether to toil, to labor, or just plain piss your days away." Grinding meat by hand (chopped method) is too much toil, cast iron hand grinders are too much labor, and I'm sick of ground meat from the store (pissing days away).

I choose the option not listed in the song: power tools.

I'm salivating over homemade italian sausage, and I really don't want to use my food processor. It's time.

I wish I had enough $ to buy a fancy grinder, but I just don't. I know that many people use and like the KA grinder and that it gets put through its paces at Kenji's house, but I wanted to get your opinions before dropping the cash.

I've read/seen some disconcerting black grease/goop/sludge that comes out in some of the meat. Any experience with that? Any other pros/cons?


What do you use your smoker for? (other than standard bbq)

Last year I rigged myself up a version of the AB flower pot smoker. I use a big old 18 terracotta pot & saucer with a cast iron hotplate and weber grate. It works fantastically. I put it together solely for pulled pork (I do some killer tacos with it).

It's not quite as user friendly as my brother in law's $1k traeger, but I spent less than 10% of what he did, and I'm a broke medical student.

I've tried a handful of things, some worked out well and some haven't.

Artichokes with crushed garlic (hickory) = awesome
corn (hickory) = not good
80/20 burger, started over smoke, finished on grill = easily one of the best burgers I've eaten and I'm straight up persnickety.

The burger was dinner tonight, I'd been toying with the idea for a while, and I needed a break from studying, so I fired up the smoker with some apricot. Uh-maze-ing.

What successes have you had?

Birthday swag: kitchenaid pasta roller - recipes?

Over the last few years, it seems like everything I get for my birthday has revolved around food. This year, I got a gift certificate to a restaurant, a "FOODIE" t-shirt, a pork t-shirt and a kitchenaid pasta roller attachment. I love it.

I'm doing Marcella's pasta this week for some left over bolognese, but honestly the thing I've been most excited about is crackers. This weekend, I ground up some wheat, and made crackers with flax seeds, poppy seeds and millet. I experimented a bit with seasoning - salt only, S&P, salt & rosemary.

All very tasty, but the simplicity wins out here. Salt only was my favorite.

Does anyone make crackers? Any other pasta roller applications? Interesting recipes using it?

Not really cooking/baking, kind of food - Clif Nectar/larabars

Fellow kitchen ninjas,

Does anyone remember Clif Nectar bars? They bit the dust a year or so ago in favor of the clif C bars (not as good). If you haven't had one, their pretty much like a larabar. If you haven't had either, they pretty much look like a formed bar of feces but taste much better.

Has anyone tried making there own energy bars or a snack like this? I'll confess, the real reason I want to know is I need something to replace fruitsnacks. I'll be 28 next week and it's time to move on from the magical world of foil pouched shark bites and the like.

In addition to cooking, I mountain bike, rock climb and road bike on a regular basis. I would love to have a snack that is decent, has clean and real flavors, and is portable. Regular clif bars, power bars and pretty much every other energy bar out there are completely awful. I can't even choke them down. Nectar bars were my favorite and now their gone (tear).

Has anyone made anything like this? Most of the recipes I found seem like they are on the right track, but none really address the issue of adding juice concentrate (a frequent ingredient in clif and lara bars) to the mix.

In addition to saudi/jordanian food for our date tomorrow night, the little lady and I are going to do some beta testing. I'll report back.

Am I chasing the holy grail? Baguettes at home.

I've done 6 different baguette recipes now, and I've started to tweak proportions in my favorite ones to get the ideal baguette. Still, I can't get the perfect one.

Most loaves come out of the oven with a lovely golden crust, which at the time is crisp/crackly, but after resting becomes soft. That is super annoying. Recommendations for remedying that?

I also can't seem to get a crumb that is open enough. In spit of my very best efforts to handle the dough as little as possible, it's still pretty dense.

Last weekend I made 8 baguettes. 3 from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread, 3 from Artisan Bread in 5min/day, and 2 from NBR. The NBR recipe is ridiculous and the bread is no where near as good as the PR or AB5 recipes. The clear winner was PR, but it still wasn't up to snuff.

If I don't find something soon, I'll be putting baguettes on the "better bought" list. Any help is appreciated.

Blood Orange Beaujolais Marmalade

This marmalade has a gorgeous, purple-crimson hue. The flavor is a bit sweeter than traditional marmalade, with notes of raspberry and wine. It would be absolutely delicious sandwiched between layers of almond or polenta cake, or try it with cornmeal biscuits. A jar would make a great Valentine's Day gift. More

Peach Melba Jam

The finished jam is gorgeous—it looks like sunset in a jar. Of course it's delicious on toast or stirred into yogurt, but this is also a good jam to get creative with. It would be a welcome addition to many desserts. Spoon some over wedges of simple butter cake, stir it into cold rice pudding, or sandwich it between your favorite ginger cookies. More

Strawberry Balsamic Thyme Jam

This jam is insanely delicious; equal parts sweet and sophisticated. The balsamic vinegar adds depth of flavor and brings out the juicy, sunny taste of the strawberries. And the thyme, oh the thyme! It provides an addictive, lemony, herby essence.... More

Spice Hunting: New Things to Do With Rosemary

Perhaps more than any other, rosemary is considered the cold weather herb, going with just about everything we eat come fall and winter. When you think about it, rosemary is impressive stuff. It lasts a crazy long time in the fridge (far more than any other herb) and it's the only culinary herb in the Western canon that we infuse into food more than actually eat. More

No-Waste Tacos de Carnitas With Salsa Verde

Carnitas. The undisputed king of the taco cart. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork, at their best they should be moist, juicy, and ultra-porky with the rich, tender texture of a French confit, and riddled with plenty of well-browned crisp edges. Our version is easier than the traditional bucket-of-lard method, and produces results that are juicier and more flavorful. More

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Make Carnitas (Without a Bucket of Lard!)

Carnitas. The undisputed king of the taco cart. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork, at their best they should be moist, juicy, and ultra-porky with the rich, tender texture of a French confit, and riddled with plenty of well-browned crisp edges. Our version is easier than the traditional bucket-of-lard method, and produces results that are juicier and more flavorful. More