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monopod

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11 Kitchen Unitaskers That Are Worth the Space

Surprised to see that Kenji uses a garlic press more than any other method of chopping garlic, given that I've never seen him specify it in any of his recipes - they always either specify chopping or Microplaning. I wonder if he uses it for those recipes, or just for on-the-fly cooking without a recipe?

Regarding uses for a pizza roller: pie crust and any other thin doughs that need to be precision cut. Nothing makes cutting strips of pie dough for a lattice top easier.

Steamed Buns With Grilled Shrimp and Sriracha Mayonnaise

For those looking for a steamed bun recipe, buy the Momofuku cookbook (or google "Momofuku steamed buns"). I've made them several times from this recipe, they come out great. I've got several Asian markets near me and I've never seen premade buns at any of them.

How to Deep-Fry a Turkey Without Killing Yourself, Indoors and Out

I'm curious about the results of those so-called infrared fryers (which aren't really frying anything since, by definition, frying involves submersing in oil). Is the result really that good? I'm not clear how basically broiling it can have the same results as frying.

Also, there's another simpler method: just cut the turkey up and then fry the pieces inside in a couple of large pots, like you would make fried chicken. Not any harder than fried chicken, and same great results. You don't get the whole turkey to present, but honestly it's pretty overrated with a fried turkey - the whole bird looks like of weird and dessicated after frying anyway.

Want the Best Thanksgiving Stuffing? Consider the Oyster

I tried this many years ago, and I thought it was delicious. But it was definitely divisive - there were people at the table who just couldn't stomach the concept of oysters in their stuffing, and others who didn't like the flavor. If you didn't grow up with it, or you're not a fan of oysters generally, it can be off-putting. So, if you're trying it out for the first time, I'd make back-up stuffing as well.

That said, I personally loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat.

A Totally Cheesy, Meaty, Over-the-Top Thanksgiving Menu

I felt slightly sick just reading through this. In a good way, but still... think this might be overkill for me.

Why Anything Slow Cookers Can Do, Others Can Do Better

@sc777, go to Marshall's or another clearance-type store and check their kitchenware aisle. They often have an off-brand of enameled cookware that works great, for cheap. I got a Mario Batali-brand dutch oven (orange, of course) there around 8 years ago and it's still going strong - I honestly can't tell the difference between it and the Le Creuset that someone gave me as a gift.

Why Anything Slow Cookers Can Do, Others Can Do Better

This is very timely for me. I made a Filipino tamarind pork stew last week (Epicurious recipe) and, to save time after work on a weekday, I did it in the slow cooker (despite the recipe calling for stovetop). It came out tasting really weird - like the flavors didn't meld at all but remained totally separate - and also it didn't thicken at all so it was more of a soup than a stew.

Now that I think about it, though, every time I've adapted a favorite recipe that I normally make on the stovetop or in the oven for the slow cooker, it hasn't come out as well. I think I need to try the tamarind stew again and see if it comes out better on the stovetop.

For the Crispiest Chicken (and Turkey) Skin, Grab the Baking Powder

The technique described here is a dry brine. There's no need to use a wet brine if you're doing this - it has the same effect, more or less (arguably better since it doesn't dilute the flavor of the turkey with a bunch of added water, and also it's less messy).

Easy Skillet Baked Ziti With Sausage and Ricotta

Just made this - as some of the others commented, it came out extremely soupy. Which makes sense - there's 3 cups of liquid in there (stock, cream and pureed tomatoes) that only gets cooked for 3 minutes over low heat. I don't really understand how the sauce is supposed to come together with such little cooking time. Next time I'd put it in the oven with the top ajar for a half hour or more, maybe that will tighten it up.

The Right Way to Use a Meat Thermometer

This works great for boneless cuts, or cuts with an obvious bone structure, but what about whole chickens? I always have a hard time figuring out exactly where to probe. I've settled on the thickest part of the breast, near the front and near but not quite at the center (to avoid hitting the bone), but I can't really figure out the best place in the thigh. Recipes always say "the thickest part of the thigh" but I don't really know where that is on an intact bird. A diagram or video would be great to clarify.

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore, Any Way You Like It

Really interesting to hear the various points of view on braised chicken skin. I honestly didn't realize anyone liked it, though I do like Cantonese chicken feet which I suppose is somewhat similar. I'd probably use the approach of keeping the skin on top so that it gets crisp for this recipe. Great comments, and great looking recipe (other than the skin part).

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore, Any Way You Like It

I just don't understand braised skin-on chicken. Does anyone else find the fatty, rubbery skin incredibly unappealing? I just peel it off, leaving meat underneath that hasn't had direct contact with the braising liquid and so just tastes like poached chicken. In my world, chicken skin exists for the sole purpose of rendering and becoming shatteringly crisp when roasted, grilled or fried (oh, and also for keeping the chicken's innards in while it's alive, I suppose). Anyone else have trouble with braised skin-on chicken?

The Best Salad Spinner

Kind of weird to have what's clearly a comparative review, but not describe any of the other products you tested this against. I understand that there are probably reasons for this (i.e. you have advertisers and you don't want to offend them), but it does make for a less-than-satisfying article.

My suggestion: if you can't reference the other products in the comparison, then don't do comparative reviews. It just leaves the reader unsatisfied. Review the product and explain its pros and cons without constantly referencing comparisons that you can't tell us about.

Step Aside, McRib Sandwich: The Food Lab's Ribby McRibface Just Stole Your Glory

@tomk2, you can buy wireless probe thermometers that have two probes - one with a clip on it that goes in the grill to measure ambient temperature, and one that pokes into the meat for internal temperature. I have a Maverick version of this and it works great, much more accurate than the lid thermometers. The problem with just sticking a thermometer in the vent is (a) it takes the temp at the top where it tends to be hotter, and (b) it means you can't close your vent all the way if necessary.

Forget Store-Bought: This Easy Barbecue Sauce and Rub Combo Has You (and Your Ribs) Covered

Kenji, would love it if you did a series of BBQ sauce recipes - Carolina mustard, vinegar, etc. I've got my own but would love to see what you come up with.

Love Old Fashioneds? This Spicy, Strong Whiskey Cocktail Is for You

Seems like this would probably work with a lot of amari. Would be fun to try a bunch of different ones and see what works best. I often use Cynar 70 with rye whiskey in cocktails, which creates a similar effect (though I use Carpano vermouth instead of triple sec - will have to give that a try).

The Food Lab: For the Best Minestrone, Ditch the Recipes

@Recipe911, I think Kenji addressed that: "If you're adding pasta, just make sure not to add it until 10 to 15 minutes before the soup is done simmering."

Seekh Kebabs: The Grilled, Spiced Pakistani Meat-on-a-Stick of Your Dreams

Yes, cilantro tastes like soap to some people. But the comment saying "you lost me" because the recipe has cilantro is silly. Just leave it out, or substitute another herb you like better. No need to reject the recipe because it has one ingredient you don't like.

Fire Up the Grill for Vietnamese Caramelized Lemongrass Pork Chops

@Ananonnie, dang - you're right, gai yaang is Thai. Got confused there. But the flavors seem really, really similar.

Fire Up the Grill for Vietnamese Caramelized Lemongrass Pork Chops

Seems like a very similar marinade and cooking process to the one used in gai yaang (Vietnamese grilled chicken). Is this basically just pork gai yaang? Not that that's a bad thing, but I probably wouldn't serve both at a Vietnamese BBQ since they seem awfully similar.

The Best Serrated Bread Knife for Your Kitchen

@Brilly Ocean, that may be true if the blades are of equal quality. But it sounds like Daniel's tests indicated that the blades on all of the offset models he tried weren't up to snuff, and if you have to pick offset versus good blade, you're better off with the better blade.

Video: The Food Lab's Foolproof Homemade Mayonnaise

@CiciC - Try using soft silken tofu instead of the egg. It tastes almost identical, and you can avoid all the issues inherent to eating raw eggs (which don't really bother me, but if it's going to be sitting around outside for a while then I can see why you might be a little more cautious).

@Rainbow Unicorn - I use less oil than Kenji recommends and it comes out fine. Just try decreasing the oil. At some point it won't work, but I agree that you don't really need a cup of oil. Also, try using fresher oil or a different kind of oil - if your oil has been in your cabinet for a while, for example, it might have gone a little rancid and will taste stronger than fresh oil.

How to Make Omurice (Japanese Fried Rice Omelette)

The best part of watching that YouTube video is the Theme from Laverne & Shirley playing in the background during the omelette segment.

Bored With Ranch? Use Miso, Walnuts, and Pork to Make a Flavorful Veggie Dip

@PSFam I don't know, what's the "purpose" of a veggie platter? To me, it's to eat delicious food. I'd say this qualifies.

It sounds like you're implying that the veggie platter is meant only for vegetarians, which seems silly. Omnivores also eat vegetables. It's simple enough to include another dip that's vegetarian, if that's a concern.

Flaky, Crisp, and Fast: How to Make a Peach Galette (Freeform Pie)

I don't even really do much baking, and I love this series. It's really cool to have the Food Lab-type approach taken with baked goods. Great work.