Ragú Napoletano (Neapolitan-Style Italian Meat Sauce with Pork, Beef, and Sausage)

For how much dried pasta will this recipe provide sauce?

Baked Shells With Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce and Italian Sausage

Questions for clarity:

1. For those of us who don't keep all dairy products on hand, would the correct substitution be 1/3 cup milk and 2/3 cup of cream? (Figuring that since substituting for half-and-half is about 1/3 cream and 2/3 milk, that would be 1/6 cup cream + 2/6 cup milk + 3/6 cup cream.)

2. About how much should the 5 "medium" peppers weight in total? I tend to have only the choices at the store of "jalapeño sized" or "grapefruit sized."

3. Presuming that since the Asiago is "finely shredded" (i.e., Microplane), does the "shredded" Fontina just mean grated on a box grater or with a medium food processor disk? Weights for these would help a lot, too.


This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Maggie: Since you asked and listed 20 articles, I can say why I didn't find the week interesting, but this is my own opinion only.

As usual, 25% of the articles listed apply to specific places where I do not live or do not visit, so that's always of limited interest. Sometimes it used to feel like half of SE was "great things to eat in places where you aren't."

I also have diabetes (thanks genetics), so the features on honey, dessert, wine, and cocktails were not applicable to me. That's roughly half of the articles you cite, counting interviews about places I won't be. (I did read Kenji's article on Peking Duck, because I was curious, so maybe less than half.)

I happen not to have a grill that works, so the barbecue ones were out, too.

For me, the most interesting articles of the week were the velveting articles and recipes (even though I don't have a wok or room for it) and the tomato storage test, though I thought it could have been slightly more methodical.

I went back to look at the RSS feed to see more examples to cite, but it only holds 15 articles, many of which fit the categories above (eating frozen custard in Milwaukee, touring kitchens in Cincinnati, a guide to mead, grilling eggplant, and so on). Two of them, the list of chilled soups and the Mexican brunch, are just collections of recipes you've already published. And this week's book, "Extra Virgin," is just not my speed. I skimmed the recipes and articles as they appeared, but the only ones I clipped this week were the Chinese recipes by Siao.

It's just coincidence that this week hit a lot of subjects that don't appeal to me—honey (including mead, probably) and the featured book. Combine that with the normal "eat this in other places," cocktails, desserts, and collections of past material, and it's a week of stuff I mostly ignored.

I'm still reading; you just asked what we'd like to see. All I can tell you, though, is what I can't really use.

The Best Frozen Yogurt Is the One You Make Yourself

as most quart-sized containers of yogurt fall short of a full two cups of yogurt

Wouldn't that make them pint-sized containers? I'd expect a quart-size container to fall just short of a full four cups of yogurt by volume, right?

How Salty Should Pasta Water Be?

So, using table salt, for 1% salinity, that's two tablespoons of water per gallon?

Using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, that's a scant 1/4 cup of salt per gallon of water for 1% salinity! That seems like...a lot.

Can I Substitute Dried Beans for Canned?

Presuming the same kind of dried beans, I would guess that the canned beans retain a more vibrant color because they have less liquid to wash it away.

For Goya, an empty can gets 9 oz. of dried beans, 6 oz. of water, and just shy of 3/4 tsp. of salt, then it's sealed and cooked, and stays sealed until you open it at home. Once the beans rehydrate, they don't move a whole lot in their can.

Home-cooked beans are usually soaked, with water discarded, then cooked in plenty of water, which is also discarded unless you're making soup. All that water can wash away water-soluble pigments, and the big pots we use can agitate the beans a lot more as well, which could help wash away color (at least in my imagination).

@SmokedMeat: Do you have hard water? Try soaking and cooking the beans with filtered water (a Brita pitcher will do) and see if it makes a difference. I could never get beans to brine or cook properly until I started doing that.

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

It's difficult for me to see this as an innovation, because this is how you cook fried onion burgers here in the world capital for such. If you ask for a burger without the onions, this is how they cook it.

Differences: it's a standard griddle; the portion size is 1.6 ounces (10/pound), and the meat goes on the grill in a ball and is then smashed flat with a hand tool that's basically a trowel with the point filed off. I think the meat is 73% lean/27% fat.

And the griddle is not intensely hot because it would scorch the onions, so each burger takes a few minutes per side. It still doesn't dry out, and you still get really good crispy bits. The lower heat means the buns can be heated on the grill (bottom buns steamed on top of the burger). And it's been this way for nearly a century.

Easy Chicken and Ginger Soup With Rice Cakes, Chives, and Quick-Pickled Garlic

Kenji: fair enough. In this here part of the prairie, a thigh is never referred to as a "leg piece" unless it's connected to the leg quarter (which may or may not have that piece of backbone attached).

Buying chicken around here has become a bit of a hassle. It's always cheap (usually no more than $1.29 per pound for whole birds, often 99¢for bone-in parts), but it is almost always "enhanced" with that injected saltwater solution that they call "natural chicken broth" because it had raw chicken in it. I shop at two local supermarkets (one megamart, one local) and one non-premium chain the next town over, and at the moment, only the megamart has any unsalted boneless skinless chicken breasts, which are individually vacuum packed and cost around $6 per pound.

Also, there is some conspiracy against the standard 3½-4½ pound chicken here. You can easily buy a chicken larger than 5 pounds, or under 3 pounds, but not in-between. The locally-owned place sells only Pilgrims Pride salt-injected roasters (5½ pounds or more) or the same brand of "young chicken" in a loose bag that are never more than 3 pounds. The megamart sells some unenhanced chicken parts, but not whole chickens, and not every part. (I can currently get wings and drumsticks without injected salt, and sometimes thighs, but that's it.) The chain store in the next town sells Smart Chicken brand whole chickens, but at three times the price of the mass-market birds, and they've often been frozen by the store despite the labeling.

tl;dr: It takes some effort to find the right kind of chicken, so I always want to be sure about exactly what I'm supposed to do with it. 😀

Easy Chicken and Ginger Soup With Rice Cakes, Chives, and Quick-Pickled Garlic

So, trying to recap/summarize the chicken:

  1. Breasts, legs, thighs, and wings all go in whole; back and neck are hacked into 1-inch to 2-inch pieces.
  2. Breasts come out after 15 minutes
  3. Although only "leg pieces" are specified, it's really all the rest of the chicken that comes out after one more hour
  4. When cool enough to handle, shred all the meat and return it to the pot except the neck and back parts, which you discard.
Did I get it right? Also, if we can't find young ginger at all, do we julienne regular old ginger in smaller pieces, or grate older ginger, or what? (There's a good Asian market about 35 miles away, but that's a bit of a trip.)

Asparagus with Bacon-Hazelnut Vinaigrette and Slow-Cooked Egg

Am I really the first person to notice the recipe calls for 3 pounds of asparagus (1 1/2 pounds of asparagus is listed twice)?

Spicy Noodle Bowl with Beef and Mango

I gotta think that's supposed to be "wide rice" noodles and not "wide ride" noodles. If it's right, I think that needs more explanation! 😀

Andouille, Jalapeño, and Habanero Mac and Cheese

2 andouille sausage links, grilled and finely chopped
I'm guessing that it's OK to simply cook the sausage and not fire up the grill for two links that are part of a larger casserole?

And where would I find "cold-pack cheddar pub cheese?" Is it different from regular cold-pack cheddar? Is the difference important?

Awesome Beer To Seek Out: Prairie Artisan Ales from Oklahoma

Would have been nice had someone actually linked to Prairie Ales of Oklahoma in the article, or the references, or the sidebar, or somewhere

Peas Please! 18 Pea Recipes We Love

I absolutely fail to understand how this is not on this list. It is fantastic.

Mapo Chicken

To make your own chili oil for this recipe, toast 1/4 hot dried chili peppers
There's a number here but no unit. 1/4 cup? 1/4 teaspoon (meaning crushed peppers, not whole ones)? 1/4 pound (yikes!)?

This Week in Recipes

I thought @SeriousRecipes was supposed to tweet all of the recipes that appeared on the site. There are 16 recipes or collections in this list, but @SeriousRecipes tweeted just four of them.

Holiday Giveaway: The Amazing Thermapen Thermometer

A loaf of enriched bread, to be sure it had reached 190°.

Kenji on "3 Days to Open"

@StickyPaul: I saw some of your wings on here in Photograzing, so clearly things are going well as far as Serious Eaters go. Either you really got your act together or that show was edited bizarrely. Given the amount of sauce in the street, I'm guessing it's the former, which is better news. (You really told the Time guy to lick the sauce off the street? Tore Kenji's review off the wall?)

It was…a strange hour of television.

Chinese Stir-fried Eggs and Tomatoes

"Stir-Fried Eggs with [Blank]" sounded pretty good, but I substituted some tomatoes for the [blank] and it was delicious!

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Yeah, I don't think that three cloves would give you one tablespoon, even if you ground them up like you do for pumpkin pie. I think it should be cloves of garlic too. :-)

Easy One-Pot Miso Soup

Cook's Illustrated, Kenji's old stomping ground, recently found that cooking dried beans with a strip of kombu left them as tender and well-seasoned as if they had been brined overnight. Since I have sodium limitations, using 25¢ worth of kombu in the pot is a lot better than a bunch of salt. (I have found that salt substitute does not work well for brining beans; the potassium ions apparently don't behave like the sodium ions do.)

Kenji: since so many here like miso soup for a pick-me-up when not feeling well, could you adapt this recipe for a single serving (or, at most, for two)? I think it would be Google gold.

Pardon our Dust While We Upgrade

@Walrus: Just curious, but what specific way have they ruined their sites? (i.e., what should SE be avoiding?)

Dinner Tonight: One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf (via Food52)

I may start a talk thread about this later, but I've been thinking about ingredients since yesterday's ramp-ant debate. In this recipe, I'd have no qualms about substituting for the walnut oil, toasted pine nuts, or goat cheese—but would not consider substituting rice or orzo for the quinoa, as it seems so central to the dish.

I might substitute a different green if that's what I had, though, as long as it was nice and sturdy like collard greens or a nice chard.

The Food Lab's Asparagus Week, Day 1: Asparagus and Ramp Soup with Yogurt


I understand that, but after reading the article, I wouldn't have clicked through to the recipe (and if you read an article on SE, you now always have to click through to a separate recipe page) because so much seemed to depend on this vegetable that's not for sale around here.

I get the reasoning for the separate recipe pages, but a few lines about substitutions in the article page would have made me much more interested in clicking through.

(On the plus side: the note about leftovers turning olive drab was very much appreciated. I was thinking of making this for a friend, but those things usually get made a day ahead, so that helped tremendously.)

The Food Lab's Asparagus Week, Day 1: Asparagus and Ramp Soup with Yogurt

And somehow I failed in all that to make my main point:

When I see a recipe that features or relies upon an ingredient I don't know or can't get, I don't think of how to work around it. I just consider the recipe completely out of reach. When recipe after recipe features such an ingredient that's abundant in New York but not elsewhere, it gets old.

Kenji on "3 Days to Open"

I was amusing myself with Food Network's latest reality show, where Bobby Flay helps people trying to open a restaurant in 3 days, and lo and behold I see (complete with chyron) the one and only "J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Managing Editor, Serious Eats." (So you know it was filmed some time ago.)

Kenji had been invited to cover a marketing event for a new chicken finger restaurant that Flay was assisting. This marketing event was, and I am not the one who put these words together in this order, "an over-sexualized sauce fight."

Kenji did his damnedest to keep a straight face and actually ask serious food questions (go Serious Eats) of the restaurant's main driving force, who had absolutely nothing useful to say about the food in any way, shape, or form. This is a quote:

Kenji: "The actual [chicken] finger itself—is there something special to the technique?"
Paul (driving force guy): "Oh, yeah, dude, I mean, it's just like..."
Kenji: "Is it brined?"
Paul: "It's like, is there a special technique to raising kids? I think it's the idea that you've gotta put a lot of love into it, and you gotta really kinda..."
Kenji (laughing) "Well, but what does that mean in real terms, though?"
Paul: "No, so it's like, when you raise a kid you gotta really put like a lot of effort into that kid."
Kenji (stunned): "Do you have any actual restaurant or food experience?"
Paul: "Zero! When things get tough, the tough get tougher, and again, I can learn anything."
Kenji: "You've got confidence." (This is much more charitable than I would be.)

The food columnist from Time then actually wanted to taste the sauces, but all the ones Paul had were squirted into the street. He told Josh Ozersky, when he asked for sauce samples, "Get down on your knees and lick it up!" Out of the street.

Kenji, please tell us you don't spend much of your day on dead-ends like that. I haven't made it to the end of the show yet, but dear merciful heavens that "event" was awful.

Site not loading much of the time

About half the time in the past few days, trying to load the site's main page gives me a green gradient, an ad at the top, and nothing else. Sometimes, after several refreshes, I can get it to load, and sometimes not.

The only error I can find is that one of the 1X1 jpg images used for formatting has a bogus URL, and I can guess that sometimes, depending on what ads and other stuff are on the page, the lack of that image stops the whole page from rendering.

The wrong URL is http://adimages.scrippsnetworks/1x1.jpg (I imagine it's supposed to be as there is no top-level ".scrippsnetwork" domain).

Has anyone else been seeing this?

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