• Location: DC Metro
  • Favorite foods: Everything except fish and okra.

Grilled Shrimp and Sriracha Mayonnaise Are Perfect Partners in These Chinese Steamed Buns

@Kenji, have you tried sriracha butter yet? WAY better than mayo! Based on a recipe I saw somewhere from Charles Phan of Slanted Door fame and so easy to make in the blender - 1/2 cup sriracha, juice of one lime, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sugar; whirl in the blender and drizzle in 1/2 cup melted butter. Blend until it is fluffy perfection. You will end up putting this on everything. Seriously, I can't stop eating it and I'm thinking I would REALLY like to slather these grilled shrimp with it.

The Serious Eats Tomato Shopping Guide

Excellent information. As for supermarket tomatoes, don't discount Tasti Lee. I have had very good luck with these because they actually have some tomato flavor if you let them ripen for a day or two after purchase. My only beef is they don't keep as well as I'd like.

How to Make Cherry Clafoutis, a Dessert so Elegant, Your Guests Won't Know How Easy it is

One of my favorite desserts, mostly because I have no sweet tooth at all and this is only slightly sweet. We make it with plums quite regularly although I actually prefer it with cherries and I usually sprinkle some coarse sugar on top for a little crunch. Will have to try this version because everything of Daniel's I've tried has been fantastic.

Dim Sum Goes Deutsch: Pretzel Bao With Hot Mustard Pork Filling

These look fantastic. I have plenty of lye so will use that but I will definitely be making these this weekend.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Surviving the Off-Season

@Tyson, you are a poet and a philosopher. I truly wish you all the success you are able to achieve and will beg you again to please, please write a book. I just finished Aaron Franklin's book and while I will never build my own smoker, learning about his process and approach was fascinating. I'd love to hear what you have to say about whole hog as well as the challenges of opening and running the business.

Make These Savory Bacon and Corn Pancakes With Cheddar and Jalapeño

I'm with you, Kenji - not a sweet lover at all. Do you put anything (butter, perhaps?) on these or just serve them as is? I could actually see a bit of maple syrup just because bacon + maple syrup = delicious.

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: The Sounds of Being the Boss

Every time I'm tempted to give up on SE, I read one of your pieces and my faith comes back. @Tyson, you really are gifted - I'm sure your whole hog is fantastic but your writing is stellar. Please tell me you are going to put together a book about this experience.

And yes, we need a picture of Roland.

Kenji's Best Fast Food Awards (A Totally Biased, Completely Incomplete List)

I'm a little grossed out at the inclusion of the Chicken McNugget on the list but I know this is personal. If your McDonald's has chicken tenders they are MUCH better (not as good as Chick Fil A in my book but still awfully good for Mickey D's).

On the other hand, I much prefer McDonald's fried to Wendy's. My best friend and I argue this endlessly because I have truly never had a good fry at Wendy's. Agree with those posters who wonder about the exclusion of Five Guys fries - their cajun fries are pretty fantastic (I order a little size and it is still ridiculously big).

And I might have to take a trip to Wisconsin for fried cheese curds. I've only ever had them in poutine but I think I need to try the fried ones. Now!

8 Must-Try Dumplings Across the Country

Wow! Two Youngs is literally less than a mile from my office and I never knew it was there. Will be making a field trip next week with my lunch crew.

The Ultimate Vegan Party Food: Fully Loaded Queso Dip

I've been doing something similar to this (minus the vegizo) since you published the original recipe last year. I already posted this on another thread but my kids actually requested vegan queso as part of their Super Bowl junk food dinner instead of the traditional Velveeta and Ro*Tel. I would have made them the other stuff but they preferred this. I consider it a huge victory and a testament to how really good this tastes.

Pump up the Party With Cheesy Poutine Poppers

I was so hoping you had found a way to encase the gravy in the potato as well, sort of like a soup dumpling, but this still looks really good.

Do you have a good source for cheese curds? They are not a thing where I live so I have no chance of buying them locally.

Our Vegan Month Progress: Week 3, Checking Privilege and Staying the Course

+1 again for lemonfair.

And savory oatmeal is my favorite. I haven't tried it with tofu but I often add roasted vegetables and top it with dumpling sauce (soy, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil). Great way to start the day.

Why My Fridge Is Never Without Shirataki Noodles (and Yours Shouldn't be Either)

Sorry, Kenji, I love you with every fiber of my being but I cannot do shirataki noodles. I have tried but the smell, even after rinsing, is too much for me. I respect your food chops but this is one time I will have to say, "To each his own." Noodle, that is.

The Food Lab: How to Grill or Broil Tofu That's Really Worth Eating

I know everyone loves to hate Thug Kitchen but their tofu marinades are delicious! I personally love the sweet citrus one for almost any use but their ginger-sesame is great as well. Will definitely be trying this cooking method, though.

How to Make Lemongrass and Coriander-Marinated Grilled Tofu Vietnamese Sandwiches (Vegan Banh Mi)

@mc1818, I loathe mayonnaise in any form so I usually use sour cream in its place. Doesn't have quite the same texture but the flavor is fine.

Our Vegan Month Progress: Week 1

@FreeRangeNan and @cschepers, one of the SE staffers (honestly can't remember which, sorry) recommended an app called Pepperplate to me some time back. I have been very happy with it since it interfaces with a lot of websites plus I can use it on both my mobile devices and my computer. Is it perfect? No, but I have few complaints.

The Vegan Experience: Welcome to Year 4

So glad you are doing this again, Kenji! I have been vegan before 6:00 pm (and often after) since September for health reasons and while there may be some challenges, it has really expanded my cooking horizons. For me, the biggest hurdle has been finding things that I can customize that meat eaters and vegans can both enjoy. I knew I had made some real progress, though, when my kids requested your vegan nacho cheese sauce and chips for our Super Bowl "junk food dinner" (the one meal of the year when I usually cave and buy things like mozzarella sticks and chicken wings for them). This year they also wanted zucchini zircles, not vegan but still vegetarian, although we did have the mozzarella sticks so it wasn't a complete health-fest.

Anyway, looking forward to spending another month making your delicious recipes.

How to Eat Falls Church, VA: The DC Area's Southeast Asian Food Mecca

This piece is KILLING me! I no longer live close enough to DC to do this without making a special trip but now I feel like I need to make a special trip. Yum!

How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: Stumbling Into the Beer Business

I am so glad this series has continued even after the Swine opened. Every entry has been fascinating and well written. Keep em coming, please!

How to Make Maryland Fried Chicken With White Gravy

Like so many commenters, born and raised in Maryland and never heard of this. The funny thing is that it is exactly the technique a dear family friend used to use but she was from Alabama.

The Food Lab: Rethinking Beef Stroganoff

@Kenji, so sorry about Yuba. As a fellow Boston owner, I always looked forward to pictures of her and her little snaggle tooth. Hope you are doing okay.

The Food Lab: Rethinking Beef Stroganoff

Wow! This looks amazing and although I just finished a mid-morning snack, I find myself hungry again.

I guess I know what we're having for dinner on Sunday. My husband and kids thank you in advance.

The Food Lab: The Secret to Perfect Beef Tenderloin? The Reverse Sear Strikes Again

Made this for Christmas dinner and it was delicious. Salted and rested in the fridge from Wednesday morning until Thursday at 2:00 pm and the flavor was absolutely great (not too salty at all for those who are concerned - my SIL is a salt-phobe and her only comment was about how tender and tasty the beef was). For us, the two hour mark was a little over (but still medium rare - we just generally like our beef a little rarer than what we got) but perhaps my tenderloin was a bit smaller than those that others have cooked. If I were to do the same size again I pull it at 1.5 hours. That being said, I was already a believer with the prime rib technique and now I will never cook a tenderloin any other way.

Kenji, I hope you and your family had a very happy holiday.

Spice Up Your Holiday With Three Spiced Nuts Variations

@Daniel, you have solved a problem for me - I have a recipe that I make every year that my family is crazy about but I really have never been happy with the way the spices, sugar and butter coat the nuts. I now believe that your single egg white approach is the way to go. I'm stopping at Trader Joe's on the way home from work today to get more nuts and will give it a try. Thanks and I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

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

@Kenji, we will never agree on the brining questions but I wholeheartedly support your enthusiasm for spatchcocking. I do two turkeys every year - one spatchcocked, one traditional - and the spatchcocked bird is far faster and crispier than the other (but the traditionalists in my family practically fainted when I suggested that we not have a regularly roasted turkey displayed on the table).

@AndroidUser, Julia Child had a great recipe for deconstructing the bird and reconstructing it over a mound of stuffing. I haven't looked for that in a while but it seems like it would work just fine and then you'd get the delicious turkey juices in your stuffing just like you do when you stuff the whole bird. Might up the cooking time a bit but who cares?

Need input on buying a smoker

I am thinking of buying a smoker this summer and haven't gotten beyond the "hmmmm, that's a good idea" stage. Anything I really need to know or consider? Any brands that are good or better? I'm not anticipating smoking anything much bigger than some bacon or pork roasts so I don't need one of those huge things that the competition barbecue guys pull around behind their pickups (although we do have a pickup...). Any input, advice, or comments would be much appreciated.

Did you make a wedding cake? What went right? Wrong?

My dear brother is finally going to marry his partner of 35 years and has asked me to make their wedding cake. I bake a lot and am feeling pretty comfortable about the actual cake; what I'm freaking out about is the decoration and logistics. Even though I went to pastry school more years ago than I care to mention, I have pretty much forgotten everything I ever knew about cake decoration. I know I will have to practice piping to get back in the groove but what about the other stuff? How do I ensure it doesn't tip over, how do I keep the frosting from sliding off, you know, all the hilarity you see in comedies where cake goes tragically wrong and the wedding gets ruined.

Are there any good books on the topic?

I know there must be plenty of Serious Eaters who have done this and can either allay my fears or tell me side-splitting stories of what went wrong with their efforts. Anything that would either limit my stress or identify things to avoid would be much appreciated.

What traditional family recipe would you never mess with?

I have a large pot of chili sauce simmering on the stove and realized, as I read the recipe this morning, that this is one of the few times that I make something almost exactly as the recipe reads. Truly the only change I have made to this sauce (which was made by my great grandmother O'Connell, dubbed "Mother Connie" by my mother when she was first learning to talk) is to add a few jalapenos. I also use a food processor to chop the peppers and onions since I don't have a kitchen staff like Mother Connie did.

So, as the holidays approach and we trot out all the family stuff, what is untouchable in your family? Stuffing/dressing? Sweet potatoes? Pie?

Has a recipe or technique ever blown your culinary mind?

I've experienced a lot of epiphanies over the years but nothing, and I mean nothing, has ever affected my cooking life like discovering Jim Lahey's no knead bread. Seriously. I've been baking for pretty much my entire life and had tried a million different ways to make artisan style bread at home but nothing really gave me the loaf I was looking for. Then I read an article by Jeffrey Steingarten in Vogue (!) about Lahey's technique. I literally took the magazine into the kitchen and mixed up a bowl of dough immediately. The subsequent bread was a revelation and I've never looked back.

Kenji's prime rib and poached egg techniques are pretty amazing but that bread - nothing will ever touch that bread.

What about you? What changed YOUR cooking life?

Is there REALLY any substitute for bacon?

A dear friend has recently become vegetarian. I support him completely but am now puzzling about Thanksgiving dinner, which he will be attending with us. A lot of my side recipes contain bacon (which he has admitted he misses) and while I know I could just leave it out, I fear the taste and texture will be quite different without. What about smoked paprika? Chipotles in adobo? A little extra good olive oil? I'd love to know how others have successfully made the substitution.

Is it wrong? Further to Dandbuilder's ranch pizza...

I just threw my family's traditional and much loved pot roast into the crock pot. This recipe, if you can dignify it with that title, calls for Lipton onion soup mix, ketchup and a can of Coke. I nearly caused a riot by trying to gussy it up using caramelized onions, etc. and have been put on notice by the other residents of my house that I shouldn't even consider messing with the pot roast again.

I've served this pot roast to some of my most hard core foodie friends and before they knew what was in it, they were in awe of its deliciousness.

So, a la the ranch dressing pizza, what is the thing that you make that strains your gourmet cred but tastes SO good you can't let it go?

Where to eat in Cheyenne, WY?

So my work is taking me to Cheyenne and I'm wondering what and where to eat there. I'll be there for a week, including over a weekend, and I'll have a car so I'm open to anything and everything that might give me the Wyoming experience. I'll also mostly be alone, although that's not a problem for me since I've traveled a lot for work and am used to the solo dining thing, but white tablecloth is less conducive to a fun time than dive bar or hole in the wall. Help me, Serious Eaters, you're my only hope.

Is there an app for that? Recipes on a smartphone

I know, I'm a late adopter but I recently got a smartphone and I'm enjoying having it in the kitchen to refer to when cooking. What I've been doing is finding recipes I like on the web then adding them to my home screen in a folder but I'm wondering if there is a better way. I mean, I don't want to make this any more complicated than it has to be but I can see it getting cumbersome as I add recipes in. Any suggestions for what works and what doesn't? Have there been threads on this in the past that I have ignored because they didn't apply to me that I should go back and read? Any input would be much appreciated and happy Easter to those SErs who celebrate, happy Sunday to those who don't.

Do you make your own hot sauce? Can you help troubleshoot mine?

I decided to make hot sauce and used Bon Appetit's technique - grind the peppers in the food processor, allow to ferment a bit, add vinegar and "cure" for 2-7 days. I'm very happy with the taste of the resulting sauce but not the texture, if you will. It is as thin as the vinegar I used and settles into layers of solids (sort of) and liquid that need to be shaken before the sauce is used.

If this is just the way things are I'm okay with that but I'd like the sauce to be slightly thicker, like Tabasco, and to not separate if possible.

I'm open to other recipes/techniques/ideas - I just started with Bon Appetit because I had turned that page down in the magazine when I read it.

Also, anyone know any good sources for bottles (other than recycled ones)?

Food trucks in and near Baltimore

I'm now working a project in Woodlawn, MD, just outside Baltimore, and except for Pioneer Pit Beef (astounding!) this is a food wasteland. My work buddies and I were wondering a) why are there no food trucks out here because there are two huge government facilities with lots of hungry people in them, and b) are there food truck pods around Baltimore we could drive to? Any info from our Baltimore Serious Eaters would be much appreciated.

How do I change my SE e-mail address?

I've been a member of SE for a while but now I have a different e-mail address. I went to my profile but I can't see anything that lets me change the address associated with my profile. I'd rather not start over again so can anyone tell me how to do this? Many thanks in advance.

Kind of OT - really tasty homemade dog biscuits

Okay, I know dogs can't talk but have any of you made homemade dog biscuits that your pets have really liked? I've googled recipes but what I'm missing is how well they went over with their canine recipients. I'm one of those Christmas cookie people and this year, as I started planning, I realized that almost everyone on my list has acquired a dog since last Christmas (myself included). I'm looking for a tried and true recipe that has been a hit so any help would be much appreciated.

Still can't get a good site view with IE9

I've tried everything that's been suggested (cleared cache, refreshed page) and at least now I can see the pictures that accompany the articles but the top banner is still empty and the drop downs don't work. My Chrome machine works great but IE9 is proving more problematic. Please don't tell me to switch browsers - due to various considerations that isn't possible. Any help, anyone?

p.s. I can't preview this post so I hope it actually posts like it should.

How would you make Mountain Dew flavored powder?

Some background - I work in IT but I bake a lot. One of my geeks did me a serious favor and indicated that sugar cookies might be a nice reward for his services. This guy (like so many of his tribe) drinks Mountain Dew constantly and I thought it might be fun to incorporate his favorite beverage into the cookies. I'm no molecular gastronomist so I don't really know where to start but I do have a dehydrator, if that's the direction I need to go. In fact, I might just put some soda in it now as an experiment but I know there must be someone in SE land who might have some ideas.

Cocktail goodies from the sixties - does anyone remember Snappie

My parents were very big on the cocktail hour - usually martinis (but sometimes other cocktails depending on the season, daiquiris or the like) always accompanied by a tray of yummy snacks that we kids would sneak handfuls of. One of their favorites was something called Snappies, which were basically some kind of fried dough rolled in a seasoning which was I'm sure was primarily salt. I'm wondering if there's anyone else who remembers these because I'd like to recreate them since they don't seem to be made any more. Am I howling at the moon here?

Any great hole in the wall joints in Dallas Park Central area?

I'm doing a trip to Dallas next week and can't take another chain restaurant with my non-foodie coworkers. Would love to try someplace local for dinner and it doesn't really matter the ethnicity. We'll have a car but time may be short so driving to Fort Worth or the like probably isn't going to happen. We're staying in a hotel that is literally at the intersection of 75 and the LBJ.

Help me, Serious Eaters. Save me from the Olive Garden and the Outback. I'll be in your debt forever.

Tomato "syrup" - need some brilliant ideas on what to do with it

So I'm about halfway through my yearly tomato can-athon. To shorten the cooking time, I pull off the juice as I cook the tomatoes down. Last year I canned this like stock and used it to make risotto and the like all winter, which was good but I ended up with way too much of it ( I can a LOT of tomatoes, believe me). This year I took two huge pots of the tomato stock, reduced it by about 90% and ended up with what I can only call tomato syrup. I made a pepper infused jelly with some of it, which turned out great, especially as a glaze brushed on grilled chicken or pork but I could use some new ideas of how else to use the syrup. I'm open to just about anything that's legal. Any suggestions?

Heinz-like Ketchup

First note - I came up with this recipe for my kids so it is as close to supermarket ketchup as you can get and still be homemade. They eat ketchup on a lot of stuff because it is a great way to get them to eat things they might otherwise shun. The hubs and I eat it occasionally on burgers but not much of anything else so this is a kid friendly recipe. As I mentioned in the other thread, nobody I've ever served it to has realized until I told them that it isn't Heinz. The reason I make it myself is so that I know what goes into it.

Second note, I have on more than one occasion made my own tomato paste but in this version I use commercially canned organic tomato paste. Again, this was developed for my kids and the homemade tomato paste turns a darker color that adults don't mind at all but kids find suspicious.

Also, the recipe doubles, triples, quadruples easily. If I get to Costco and can buy large quantities of agave, I make a big old vat of this and store it in my basement fridge or boiling water bath can it for 20 minutes for shelf storage.

Has the whole chef-advertising thing finally gone too far?

Okay, I have no problem with chefs making some extra money advertising things (my hubs cooks professionally and I know first hand that it is generally a low pay job unless you're Emeril or Mario Batali). So if Thomas Keller wants to appear in ads for Napa Valley tourism, I'm fine with that. Morimoto wants to hawk Fiji Water, good for him. I can even sort of see the connection between a creepily airbrushed Richard Blais and Lincoln (if you buy the concept that a craftsman is a craftsman whether they're making food or cars - like I said, sort of...).

But Homaro Cantu selling Reach dental floss? DENTAL FLOSS?????

Has the world gone completely @#$%^% mad?

You MUST try this recipe from SE - Chicken Karaange

I'm a southern girl and I can fry me some chicken but when I saw this recipe on SE I thought I'd give it a try. I didn't let it marinate for the full 24 hours (more like about five) but even with that this chicken kicks @ss and takes names. It is un-freaking-believable. You owe it to yourself to try this even if you are one of those people who is scared to fry chicken lest you set the house on fire. Seriously. Go, right now, and start your chicken marinating for tomorrow. If it is even close to what I made tonight you will be thanking me and Erin and Robyn for sending you to this recipe.


Oh, and I know there's a way to make the link smaller but I'm too lazy to figure it out right now. I have to eat some chicken.

Heresy I know, but how to prebake pizza crust?

I'm sure a number of Slicers will show up on my doorstep with pitchforks and flaming torches but here's my dilemma. I'm having a crowd for dinner and would like to do a make your own pizza thing. I'm thinking with prebaked crusts I could limit the in oven time and move things along more quickly. I have Mario Batali's latest book where he describes making the pizza on a griddle sort of thing then finishing in the oven but was wondering if any SEers had any good ideas for me. Thanks in advance.

Need suggestions for learning to cool real Italian food

I cook a lot but have spent the last few years focusing on Asian food or else going back to my Southern roots. I've never had a whole lot of interest in Italian but realize I'm giving short shrift to a major cuisine and I could use a culinary challenge. I've watched a fair amount of Molto Mario (because I just love Mario Batali, bless his little orange shoes) so I know there's way more to it than pasta and red sauce but I'd like some suggestions for books, video, etc. to learn more about real Italian food. What have you got for me, Serious Eaters?

A little Saturday fun - are there subgenres of foodies?

Yes, it is a gloomy Saturday and I'm a little bored...

So if someone who loves food is a foodie (and yes, before the snarkmeisters come out, I am well aware that foodie is a love it or hate it term), is someone who loves bread a breadie? Is a fish lover a fishie? Sweets a sweetie? What do you call the subgroups?

This is meant to be a FUN topic so please, use your verbal prowess for good, not evil.

How to make a deep fried hotdog that isn't a corn dog?

This is the kind of question no Serious Eater thinks they will ever ask - and then they have children. So... my 11 year old wants a deep fried hotdog on a stick but had a bad corn dog experience (haven't we all?) so I can't make a corn meal batter. What do you guys think? Tempura batter? Pancake batter? Flour/buttermilk/flour like I do with fried chicken? I'm kind of at a loss but am on the hook to deliver this tonight so I don't have time for a lot of experimentation.

Help me, Serious Eaters, you're my only hope.

mcwolfe hasn't favorited a post yet.