Associate professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. Learned to cook by watching PBS in the mid-1990's (Jacques Pepin, Martin Yan, Martha Stewart, Jeff Smith...). Good cook, bad baker.

  • Location: Reno, NV
  • Favorite foods: olives, peaches, cherries, fish and shellfish, any combination of butter, sugar, and nuts, preferably caramelized, croissants. Also pizza.
  • Last bite on earth: baklava

The Food Lab: Bringing Home General Tso's Chicken

Awesome, Kenji, making this this week. However, after reading this analysis, I feel an important technique question has been left unaddressed: How does one go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. Any helpful hints there?

Serious Entertaining: A Dinner to Ring in Spring

Wow, everything on this menu looks fantastic; can't wait to try it out.

I'm tempted to try to do every course on the grill to streamline cooking and maximize outside time (except the ice cream...but now that I type that, it occurs to me that I can set the ice cream churning on the deck while we make the rest...).

Anyway, I know I can do the salad veggies, artichokes, peas (steamed in pod or parchment), sausages, and pita all on the grill--but the sticking point in my crazy plan might be the poached egg. Is there any way to grill-poach an egg? In parchment? Some contraption involving corn husks? Or should I (probably) just give up and go inside?

Falafel Waffles = Wafalafels

@hat19 Good point; and while you're on that quest, you should come to Reno and see if you can make a Waffle-awful-awful:

Behind the Scenes in Maggie's Home Kitchen (and Bar)

Thanks, Maggie! The lazy susan is a great idea I hadn't thought of. Also going to steal your mom's idea for sorting cutting boards :)

Behind the Scenes in Maggie's Home Kitchen (and Bar)

I love your kitchen, Maggie. I have one basically the same size (though not as pretty) and organize things almost exactly as you do. We're contemplating a kitchen remodel to use existing space more efficiently, so I'll ask: what's the one element/unit you would add if you had space for it? (Aside from a wine fridge--we're actually seriously thinking of going down to a single-unit washer/dryer so we can fit one in....) Thanks!

Oyster Mythbusting: Debunking 5 Common Misconceptions

Thanks for this, Julie--super informative and helpful.

A Chinese Mother's Fix-All Herbal Remedy

I would drink the rest of this in a heartbeat, but ditto what queensj said about seahorses. Ebay UK just banned their sale, and environmental groups are hoping Ebay US will follow: It's not just the Asian seahorses, either; they're being illegally exported worldwide. I was in Honduras two years ago, and some diving guides there told me that where they used to see 20 seahorses on a dive a few years ago, they don't see any now, or maybe 1 in a blue moon. They're really in trouble.

Ask a Cicerone: What's the Best Hoppy Beer?

1. Pliny
2. Alpine Pure Hoppiness
3. Surly Furious
4. De Ranke XX Bitter (since it just said "hoppy" not IPA)
5. Founder's Red's Rye PA
6. Bell's Two Hearted
7. Ballast Point Sculpin
8. Marble IPA (Albuquerque)
9. Boundary Bay IPA
10. Fifty/Fifty RyePA (Truckee, CA)

Save Your Life Garlic Soup From 'One Good Dish'

Ditto @Desert Dryad about the bay leaf: I seriously thought, "Slugs save lives?" ;) It's the little antennae that seal the deal....

Bake the Book: The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Book of Pie

blueberry, hands down.

Cook the Book: Andy Ricker's 'Pok Pok'

Duck laab; I could eat my weight in that stuff.

Birthday cookies for shipping--help!

Gingersnaps and Russian tea cakes! That's why I asked--hadn't thought of those at all. Shortbread and macaroons were at the top of my mental list.... Thanks for the ideas, folks--you're lifesavers.

Cook the Book: 'The Catch'

Black pepper crab from Kim Son in Houston.

24 Essential Kitchen Tricks and Tips

These are all great suggestions--from @jkla and everyone else, thanks!

I'll add: use your microwave to quickly warm dinner plates/bowls for service (as long as they don't have metal rims--in which case, exciting light show and ozone aroma!!). For mine, a minute on high warms 4 stoneware 10" dinner plates. Especially nice if your oven is busy and/or still too hot for plates.

Pizza Capital of the World: Tasting Our Way Through Old Forge, PA

Great story...but what's the word? Is Old Forge indeed "Pizza Capital of the World"? I suspect the authors have a final evaluation, given their pizza cred, and I would've liked to have heard more than "its all good, and grandmas are adorable."

Cook the Book: 'Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese'

Cook the Book: 'Hiroko's American Kitchen'

Probably rice vinegar: I put it in lots of sauces and dressings b/c it's a nice balance of sweet/sour without a strong flavor of its own. After that, I'd say furikake on rice, veggies, and eggs.

Cook the Book: 'The New Persian Kitchen'

Pomegranate molasses is the not-so-secret ingredient in nearly all the things I cook that come out well. It's the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and savory. I use it in sauces, marinades, salad dressings, breakfast parfaits, desserts, drinks....

5 French Style Sweets We Love in Santa Fe

Glad you found the French Pastry Shop. They've been there in the La Fonda forever. I love going in winter and sitting near a frosted window or the snug hearth with the copper pots gleaming overhead and a steaming crock of their venerable French onion soup--followed by a napoleon for dessert, of course.

12 of Our Favorite Food Movies

Iron Monkey, the stir fry scene. Doesn't matter how full I am when I watch it, it always makes me hungry.

The Food Lab: How To Make Carne Adovada (Chili-Braised Pork)

@2thsumagogo: "Xenophobes," eh? I beg to differ. We New Mexicans love our visitors, even the ones who can't tell our state from Arizona :)

The Food Lab: How To Make Carne Adovada (Chili-Braised Pork)

I have no doubt whatsoever that what you made here is delicious and that everyone who makes the recipe will be happy, as always with Food Lab recipes. But I would not call this dish New Mexican carne adovada, which is traditionally made more or less the way @soozm32 describes (there's a longstanding dispute among NM families over whether or not to put oregano). I can see the raisins to make up for the fact you can't get decent NM chile pods, and I guess if you want the smokiness you'd get from braising it all day on a BBQ cobbled together from a salvaged washing-machine drum and a piece of sheet metal like we used to in Belen, the chipotles make some sense. But fish sauce and orange concentrate? The uniqueness of New Mexican food lies in the fact that it has been cooked in a setting of extreme beauty and scarcity for hundreds of years (thousands, for some dishes). The food memorializes that history. You can and should always be able to taste in good New Mexican food the stone, sky, water, bone, wood, and blood that made it. That memorial is why I make it, and it's what you lose if you change the recipe to cater to a globalized palate. There's something to be said for letting a dish teach you about where it came from.

What We're Eating: Lard Bread

There's a related recipe for casatiello (brioche studded with provolone and salami) in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. I think it's closest to Mazzola's.

Cook the Book: 'Eat with Your Hands'

Hands down (ha ha) it's black pepper crab from Kim Son in Houston.

The Food Lab: How to Make Tonkotsu Ramen Broth at Home

Sorry about the bonehead o/a typo. I think I'll try the all pork/ chicken version--that's meaty enough for my tastes.... Can't wait for the noodle recipe. Thanks a ton for this series.

Birthday cookies for shipping--help!

I need to make cookies for a friend's grandma's 100th birthday party. (I know!) I will be delivering them to said friend a day or two before the party, and she will be carrying them on the plane. So, I need a recipe that a) is festive b) is relatively traditional (Grandma is 100% style, 0% fad) c) is travel-worthy and d) won't go stale right away. Making cookies Thurs. a.m.... Thanks in advance for the help, SEaters!

Calling all food nerds! Technique question about carbonation

I have a seltzer maker, and the company says to carbonate chilled water. I was thinking warmer (like tap temperature) water might accommodate more CO2, resulting in bubblier water, but then when it chills in the frig, would the CO2 be forced out of solution, making it flatter? For that reason, am I better off carbonating already-chilled water because the carbonation will be more stable? Or does it not matter either way because water at X temperature will hold Y amount of gas, end of story? I should have paid better attention in high school chemistry....

Help: curry leaves substitution

Hi all--I'm making Potato Salad with Yoghurt for dinner from Neelam Batra's 1,000 Indian Recipes, and I don't have any curry leaves. I have lemon basil and thai basil: would either be an acceptable substitute? I know I'm going to have to break down and mail-order some curry leaves, but since they won't get here by dinner time...any suggestions appreciated. Thanks!

A brief history of the one-word restaurant name

Anyone know when/where/why the trend of single-word restaurant names started? I don't mean names necessarily, but food or food-related words--you know, like Porchetta, Jar, Crush, Tilth, Toast, Lark, Dovetail, Pear, Crave, Pastis, Picholine, Aquavit, Chestnut, Alchemy, Applewood, Meze, Olea. I'd especially like to hear your theories as to *why*--what food philosophy or cultural movement or advertising scheme is this trend capitalizing on?
Bonus question: Same thing for two-word compounds such as Sitka & Spruce, Flour & Water....

The definitive beignet: Pate a choux or yeast dough?

Happy Sunday, all. In your opinion, what's the definitive beignet dough/batter--a risen yeast dough or a pate a choux? I just made the pate a choux version out of the 1997 Joy of Cooking, and I thought they were too light and eggy compared to my memories of eating them in New Orleans at Cafe Du Monde (those seemed more rich and cakey to me). But the Internet was no help: I found both kinds of recipes in equal representation. A little help from any NOLA folks out there would be much appreciated.