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JB Memmer

This Week in Recipes

The tomato gravy link doesn't appear to be cooperating.

What is the worst pizza you have ever eaten?

It's a tie between all things Little Ceasar's and this place here in Bloomington IL called Grady's, which also doubles as a "family fun park". The sauce on Grady's pizza is so cloyingly sweet, you'd think it was tomato candy. . . and I don't mean that in a good way.

Naturally, however, in this Town With No Tastebuds, some people just rave about it. It's a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place, but I think you can guess into which camp I fall. :)

DAMN I cut my finger again!

How timely a topic. :)

As I sit here and type, it's with a trussed-up left paw. Said left palm is the recipient of 7 stitches (and a tetanus booster to boot - ugh!) from just two days ago, thanks to my Wusthof 10" chef's knife and a particularly tough zucchini from our garden. I had successfully navigated my way through all the rest of the bounty I was was prepping to blanch and freeze, but on the very last one - naturally - I encountered a really tough one.

I thought I was doing really well with is, tenting my left hand over the blade while trying to push down with both. And I was almost done when the stupid zuke decided to roll on the cutting board. It was just enough to rotate my left palm under just as the blade came through, and voila'!

I grabbed a wad of paper towels and calmly called my wife in to take me to the Prompt Care - it was only open for another twenty minutes, and otherwise we'd have to run over to the ER, which has a HUGE co-pay. So, we loaded up the kids and zipped on over... just in the nick (pun intended) of time. I would've felt bad about showing up just as they were getting ready to leave, but, y'know, I was, like, bleeding and stuff.

Seven sutures and a tetanus shot later, I was ready to go. And man, I hate getting tetanus shots - they make your arms sore for days. But thankfully, I was able to still go on our surprise mini-vacation for the kids (which we're actually in the middle of right now), so all's well that ends well, right? :)

Washington, DC: Crushed Spirits and Crushed Burgers at Good Stuff Eatery

It's nice to have some vindication of what I said about this place way back in December:

We actually sought out Spike's Good Eatery when we were in DC over the summer, and I feel the need to be completely forthright here: it was the most disappointing meal I've had in a long, long time. Perhaps I expected more, considering the hype, but after trudging several long, rain-soaked blocks from the Metro station, what was served to us was borderline insulting.

The burgers were *exceptionally* greasy, to the point where the buns were mooshy and slimy. The fries were limp and sitting in a pool of oil, not to mention cold by the time they called our order up. Did you know that most of the seating there is upstairs, and that you have to slog up and down the stairs for your food, as well as your drinks, condiments & other paraphrenalia like straws, etc.?

Also, they really pimp their milkshakes, so you would think they would get at least ice cream, milk and flavors correct, right? Wrong. My kids' milkshakes were halfway - literally, halfway, as the top portion of the cup had already liquified! - melted when we picked our order up at the counter!

When we finally got to dig in to the food, the sense of disappointment was palpable and completely shared between the four of us. Couch that in the context of the crap conditions we had endured just to get there, and, well... needless to say, we won't ever be going back there, and I would not recommend this overpriced grease pit to anyone.

In further reflection, I'm still trying to figure out how our burgers turned out so greasy on the outside of the bun, but you've cleared up the "where'd that smoosh come from?" question, sir.

And let me also second (or is that 14th by now?) your point about the whole meal having the feel of it being prepared by someone who just really didn't give a rat's ass.

Won't. Go. Back.

Serious Beer: American-Brewed Kölsch

I second Kyle@papa's sentiment - we love the whole line that Schlafly offers, so much so that when we were in St. Louis a few weekends ago, we made it a special point to go to their restaurant (Schlafly Bottlewerks), where we had a FABULOUS meal! Heck, it was even reasonably priced, and I had the 6 beer sampler! If SE is looking for a place to check out, I'd highly, HIGHLY recommend 'em... especially if we get invited along...!

And yes, for the record, their Kolsch rocks. :)

Sixth and Rye, Spike Mendelsohn's Kosher Deli Truck in D.C.

Funny - the general reaction at the value-to-cost ratio was the exact reaction my family had when we trekked over DC's half-acre to his "Good Eatery": definitely not worth the time or the effort for what you get (which wasn't very good to begin with).

So, it appears that he's playing a familiar motif, here. Again - why is he famous...?

Goodbye, Dumpling

My heart goes out to you and your wife, Kenji. It's not just the loss of a pet, but a family member. Dumpling clearly made an indelible mark on not just your family, but those of out here who couldn't get enough of that eternally grinning, drooly mug who was, without question, the best fed pup in the whole city!

Again, so sorry for your loss...

Regional Barbecue Sauces Available by Mail-Order

I'd throw my vote in here for Pappy's Smokehouse sauces from St. Louis. We make it a point to always stop there when we're down for a visit, and we load up on their various sauces - also available online, of course!

Bocce Pasta Salad

When are you adding the basil...? :) With the 'maters & feta?

Egg in Toast: What Do You Call It?

Fred. We call it Fred.

Best Breakfast Pizza Dough Recipe, Anyone?

Great ideas, guys! Actually, Amandarama gave me an idea that I think I'm going to try out - actually doing this as a pan pizza. I've got a great 14-in high-sided pizza pan, and using Donna's suggestion of putting the cheese on the bottom might just turn the trick.

I'll let you know how it goes - thanks again, everyone!

Best Breakfast Pizza Dough Recipe, Anyone?

@ seriousb - Oh, come now, sir - you expect me to believe that someone as experienced as yourself has never heard of breakfast pizza? :) That said, I really don't want to go the Pillsbury route, because it always ends up tasting like Pillsbury in the end.

@ Donna - yes, I've been following your recent pizza laboratory stories with great relish and vigor, but I'd disagree with regard to the thickness of the dough. I've worked in several different pizza kitchens, and they each had their own specific recipes and hydration levels that led to very different types of crust. I'm thinking that a thin crust wouldn't be substantial enough to hold up the toppings, but I also don't want to go the full Sicilian-style route with a big, puffy base. I like your crust recipe, however, so I'd ask how it works used at a little higher thickness.

I'm thinking that since we're going to be at my folks house that a pizza stone won't be present. I really don't want to have to lug mine there, so I'm thinking my perforated pizza pan might make the trip instead. Have you tested one of those in your adventures, Donna...?

Indianapolis: College Town Burgers All Grown Up at Scotty's Brewhouse

Having frequented both the West Lafayette location as well as the one on 96th St in Indy, I can tell you that they both provide a great selection of really choice eats. It's just a darned shame you didn't get a chance to try the ribs, which were some of the best we've ever had in a chain restaurant like this. Sure, it's no Pappy's Smokehouse in St. Louis, but the ribs were damned fine eating, world's above other chain-type restaurants!

Also, the fried pickles were pretty darned yummy, as I recall. That said, I agree with your review whole-heartedly, grumpy naysayers notwithstanding!

Indy eats

Where are you going to be in Indy? That will largely determine the recommendations for you - I'd hate to send you to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Greenwood if you're going to be up Carmel way. :)

Whatever you want, what would you eat right now?

Seriously jonesin' for a cheesesteak, wiz-wit', from Pat's in Philly right now. Too bad I'm about 11 hours away...!

Chain Reaction: Fuddruckers

All I'll say is this: the last time we went to a Fuddruckers, I ended up waking up next to my young daughter ralphing her aforementioned-Fuddruckers all over our hotel bed at 2 am.

That kind of did me in for them, as you might well imagine. :)

Supper vs Dinner?

"I don't think he knows about second
breakfast, Pip."

"What about Elevenses, Luncheon,
Afternoon tea, dinner ... he knows
about them, doesn’t he?"

:)

Slow cooker roundup?

Ditto the redfish. :) Got it, love it. The best part is the way it acts like a mini-pressure cooker when you cook with the lid clamped on.

In fact, I'm using it right now to simmer away a vat of ham and beans, the perfect foil for a icy cold January day. Plus, there's the added benefit of not having to prepare a meal after we get home from the kids' taekwondo and gymnastics practices tonight!

Slow cooker roundup?

Ditto the redfish. :) Got it, love it. The best part is the way it acts like a mini-pressure cooker when you cook with the lid clamped on.

In fact, I'm using it right now to simmer away a vat of ham and beans, the perfect foil for a icy cold January day. Plus, there's the added benefit of not having to prepare a meal after we get home from the kids' taekwondo and gymnastics practices tonight!

Meet & Eat: Chef Spike Mendelsohn, Owner of Good Stuff Eatery and We the Pizza

We actually sought out Spike's Good Eatery when we were in DC over the summer, and I feel the need to be completely forthright here: it was the most disappointing meal I've had in a long, long time. Perhaps I expected more, considering the hype, but after trudging several long, rain-soaked blocks from the Metro station, what was served to us was borderline insulting.

The burgers were *exceptionally* greasy, to the point where the buns were mooshy and slimy. The fries were limp and sitting in a pool of oil, not to mention cold by the time they called our order up. Did you know that most of the seating there is upstairs, and that you have to slog up and down the stairs for your food, as well as your drinks, condiments & other paraphrenalia like straws, etc.?

Also, they really pimp their milkshakes, so you would think they would get at least ice cream, milk and flavors correct, right? Wrong. My kids' milkshakes were halfway - literally, halfway, as the top portion of the cup had already liquified! - melted when we picked our order up at the counter!

When we finally got to dig in to the food, the sense of disappointment was palpable and completely shared between the four of us. Couch that in the context of the crap conditions we had endured just to get there, and, well... needless to say, we won't ever be going back there, and I would not recommend this overpriced grease pit to anyone.

10 Food Memes, Themes, and Schemes of 2010

Heh - I have to respectfully disagree, Calvinator. Roger Mooking is probably my least favorite cooking personality on TCC. I want to throttle something everytime I hear him crow about his "obedient ingredient" - ack! :) Something about him just rubs me the wrong way, I guess...

Santa is the Best! What was under your tree?

Cuisinart.

Pro Custom 11 Food Processor.

'Nuff Said.

My wife rocks. :)

My pasta tastes like cinammon?!

Question: was it a whole wheat pasta, by any chance? I've noticed that many of the whole wheats have a strange aftertaste much like the one you describe, so perhaps that might have something to do with it.?

Miss Jerry Sinefeld...and cooking?!l@

Perhaps English isn't tamas' first language?

Nonetheless, it's pretty simple, really: if you don't like it, don't buy it, even if this is a bit late to the party.

This Week in America's Test Kitchen: Classic Roast Beef Tenderloin

Yeah, I gotta agree: what they served didn't *look* particularly appetizing.

Best Breakfast Pizza Dough Recipe, Anyone?

I need your help!

I'm looking at crafting a large Mother's Day breakfast for everyone as we visit with my Mom over the weekend. One of my mother's favorite things is the breakfast pizza from The Rainforest Cafe, and I'd like to try and top that for her on Sunday morning. What I'm struggling with is the choice of dough to use for that breakfast pizza.

I'm looking for the Goldilocks answer, here: I don't want something too thin or too thick. It needs to be just right. There's going to be some meat - bacon and sausage, likely - and some cheese, along with scrambledy eggs and some token veggies, so it's gotta stand up to all of that without getting soggy.

So, I submit it to you, oh wise brethren and sistren. What would you recommend I do for the dough?

We Drew Vegetables For Our Thanksgiving Meal At Work!

As the holiday cooking season starts to heat up, so does the arrival of myriad opportunities for whipping up a veritable cornucopia of old family favorite receipts for our coworkers. In our department, we split the main courses between the various teams: one team with get the main courses (aka. the "meats"); another (aka. the lucky ones) get the desserts; alas, this year, we have drawn the vegetable/sides course.

This, to me, is one of the hardest ones to accommodate. Not for lack of veggie love, certainly not. No, the difficulty arise from the inherent temperature probles you encounter when cooking vegetables early in the morning and have need to keep and serve them at a good temperature for lunch... nearly 4 hours away. What can happen all too easily is that the vegetables either get overcooked or end up all cold and gunky... and nobody likes a gunky Thanksgiving Feast, right?

So, I throw this out to you, learned SE members. What dishes would you recommend for the company potluck that hail from the land of vegetables? (p.s. Any and all side dishes are fair game here!)

Bittersweet Decadence Cookies

A batter of mostly melted chocolate is gently warmed in simmering water. Chopped nuts and even more chocolate are stirred in. Seriously Bitter Sweet makes and bakes them with the centers still gooey. Seriously indulgent, with a satisfying chew. More

Cranberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

This pudding, inspired by the highly delicious White Chocolate Bread Pudding at the Palace Cafe, has the soul of a New Orleans bread pudding. But it's gussied up for the season with cranberries, which add a wonderful tart contrast to the white chocolate in the butter and cream-rich custard, and a nice glug of bourbon, which certainly doesn't hurt anything. It's a perfectly decadent entrée into the Thanksgiving season. More

Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie

This pie ups the ante in the pecan pie game. It's full of a rich caramel custard and chock-full of pecans, with a healthy dose of chocolate to send it over the edge. With just a tiny hit of salt to balance out the sweet richness of the filling, this pie will be the one they talk about long after Thanksgiving. More

The Food Lab: How To Make the Best Creamy Cole Slaw

I can't say that I grew up eating cole slaw, nor was it love at first taste. In fact, I didn't truly start loving cole slaw until I tasted the excellent version that Barbara Lynch makes at her B&G Oysters in Boston's South End. Rather than soupy or gloppy with excess mayonnaise, the slaw there is tangy and fresh, with just a hint of creaminess to bind it together. That's what we're after in this week's Food Lab. More

Stained Glass Windows

If you aren't able to find multicolored marshmallows, you can use regular mini-marshmallows, or substitute, as I did, two-thirds of a bag of large red and green Christmas marshmallows (cut down to mini-marshmallow size) and 1/3 of a bag of regular mini-marshmallows. More

American Classics: Holiday Peppermint 'Crack'

This year, instead of buying tschotskes that my friends and family will have to dust until they end up in a yard sale or on eBay, I'm trying to make as made homemade gifts as I can. One of the first recipes that came to mind for holiday gift giving was my beloved Chocolate 'Crack'—it's easy, it's inexpensive, and it's absolutely impossible to pass up. But it's even better with a winter-appropriate peppermint spin. More

Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides

Every year I go through this: what will be the easiest AND tastiest green vegetable side to serve with the holiday meal? There will be mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a butternut squash and spinach gratin. Any suggestions for something additional... More

Thanksgiving Sides: Gratins

I usually like my vegetables straight up, crisp-tender and green, but every autumn, I'm drawn to gratins (which tend to cancel out most of the nutritional value of any vegetables within.) Layered with cream and butter, sprinkled with something crispy and broiled until golden, the lure of the gratin is definitely decadence. Here are a few recipes for gratins to serve on Turkey Day. More

Peanut Butter Cup Pie

This pie is every peanut butter and chocolate lover's dream. A crumbly, chocolate cookie crust cradles smooth and dense peanut butter filling, which is covered with a generous layer of dark chocolate ganache. It's an adult version of the candy classic, and big enough to treat lots of friends. More

Easy Pie Dough

This makes enough for two single-crust pies or one double crust pie. For a slightly more tender crust, replace up to 6 tablespoons of butter with vegetable shortening. Pie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator before rolling and baking. More

The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough

If there's one thing that instills fear into the hearts and minds of American cooks, it's pie crust. I know. At one time, I was one of those people. Pie crusts were the Mumm-ra to my Lion-O, and it was all because they were a mystery to me. What makes them flaky? What makes them tender? And most importantly, how come mine used to come out like pliant pieces of leather instead of buttery and delicious? More

The Pizza Lab: The Complete Updated Guide To Grilled Pizza

I've long said that grilling pizza is by far the easiest way for a regular home cook to get pizzeria-quality, soft and airy, crisp, well-charred, smoky pies at home (that is, without resorting to hacking your kitchen equipment), and with grilled pizza season well into full swing, I figured it was time we updated last year's Grilled Pizza Guide, which gives a pretty good overview of the process, but ignores one thing: Toppings. More