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

Pawpaws: America's Best Secret Fruit

I have a recipe for passionfruit souffle, and it sounds like paw paw might sub in for the passionfruit puree--do you think it would work?

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

I just relocated for sabbatical. Kitchen was allegedly furnished, so I cut a few corners on the ol' emergency box...and immediately regretted it, as "furnished" apparently meant "furnished like a crappy summer cabin in the Yukon." I'm sorry, dull knives are not knives. At any rate, here are the things I didn't think were essential but turned out to be, at least for me (asterisks on the ones not already on someone's list above):
*kitchen scissors (herbs, chickens, lobsters, you name it)
*knife sharpener/kitchen steel (lets me cope with the "knives" in the kitchen without springing for new ones)
*slotted spoon for frying, draining, etc.
*fine-mesh strainer (don't get me started on the "colander" that came with the kitchen. It does not coland.)
*chopsticks (easy to pack and endlessly useful for stirring, flipping, poking, bracing...)
single-serve tea/coffee mesh basket
a sharp veggie peeler

The Real Reason Sugar Has No Place in Cornbread

@Kenji--regarding your flavor about tweaking the sugar content to replace losses due to modern milling: Do you think there's a detectable difference in the flavor of cane sugar (sucrose) v. corn sugar (fructose)?

How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes

We've used a Roma Deluxe Foodstrainer for several years for both applesauce and tomato sauce--sturdy, easy to clean, large hopper, and it's like $65

Ideas in Food vs. Linguine alle Vongole: Part 2

@zorazen has made a valid, relevant, and civil critique of this recipe; she didn't outright dismiss the value of the post, and she didn't call the creators names. Insisting that everyone in this community endorse everything that's posted (or remain silent) isn't realistic, stifles civil discourse, and IMHO is more obnoxious than trolling.

Kenji's NYC Bucket List: What I'll Miss Most

@Kenji: I was out of town when you posted this, so it might be too late, but if you're passing through Reno and need (want?) to eat right off I-80, I'd recommend Burger Me at the Robb Drive exit. The burgers, chicken, and fish sandwiches are all great; fries are average; I like the onion rings a lot though they're greasy for sure; shakes are excellent. There's also a Grimaldi's right off 80 at the first exit in Sparks; Nu Yalk is better pizza but is a substantial detour down 580. If you need coffee, the Hub is the place to go; the closest location for you would be on Riverside (Keystone exit, then like 6 blocks south and a left turn on Jones to the parking lot at Washington--doesn't take 5 minutes and well worth it for a cap that stands up just fine to anything on the Left Coast including Four Barrel).

The Tea Cup and the Dragon: Secrets of China's Favorite Green Tea

I agree--fantastic article. @AMHA: That's not a comma splice. You can quibble about style if you like, with the comma occurring as is does in the midst of a compound predicate nominative, but a comma splice only occurs between two independent clauses.

Cook the Book: 'Simple Thai Food' by Leela Punyaratabandhu

tom kha gai (and bonus Sticky Rice with Mango)

How 3 of New York's Top Pastry Chefs Helped Me Make a Wedding Cake: Part One

I agree--fun and relevant since June is nigh...just a wee typo with Ron Ben-Israel's name in the first sub-head.

Snapshots From Turkey: Kenji's Best Bites From Istanbul

Just glanced back and saw my html fails: I meant to type Kadıköy Market and Tahinli Çörek.

Snapshots From Turkey: Kenji's Best Bites From Istanbul

This almost made me cry I want to get back to Istanbul so badly. We were there at the end of October (also during anchovy season, lucky us; I think I ate my weight in those little dudes). Did you get to spend much time on the Asian side, Kenji? The kadaköy market is a foodie paradise from start to finish (all-natural Turkish delight, menemen, 1,000 kinds of urfa biber, pomegranate molasses, pickled pinecones!) and so much less touristy than the spice market on the Euro side. To your most excellent list I would add only Tahinli Çörek (a rolled bun with sweet tahini--buy it hot from the oven at 11 a.m. from Eyfel Pastanesi on the Asian side and eat it with a cup of tea at Moda çay bahçesi, which has stunning views across the Bosphorus) and Akdeniz Hatay Sofrası (in Fatih on the Euro side; make sure to order ahead on busy nights to secure a serving of lamb in flaming salt dome). I second the motion to drink as much fresh pomegranate juice as you can; I was coming down with a cold when we got to Istanbul, drank one powerful cup of the stuff, and the next morning, I was cured....

An Open Letter to Serious Eaters

Please don't get rid of Talk. I always search it when I want to know how to solve some cooking problem or where to eat in a new city. Plus I've gotten really great advice. Not on social media and never will be....

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.

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.