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  • Location: SoCal
  • Favorite foods: Pretty much everything, but I'm a sucker for cheese.
  • Last bite on earth: Anything my mother has made for me.

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak

Hey, so...I bought this cow. And this cow has proven to be extremely tough. Even the ribeyes and NY strips are pretty chewy. Grilled a pair of ribeyes this Sunday to a perfect medium-rare, and they were so chewy we had to give my daughter a hamburger because her 2-year-old teeth couldn't work through the muscles.

I've been trying to mitigate this by going sous vide with my steaks and large roasts (like tri-tips), but even at 8 hours, my tri-tip was still incredibly chewy. So do I just need to double the times? Anyone have any suggestions?

I'm getting to the point that I'm seriously considering throwing about 100 lbs of cow meat into my grinder and calling it a day.

Do Wheat-Enriched Corn Tortillas Bring Us the Best of Both Worlds?

I agree with whoever mentioned the bitter taste in the La Tortilla ones. I ate them last night and could taste it in every bite. The Mi Rancho hybrid ones didn't seem to have that problem, and were similarly low on weird ingredients.

30-Minute Pressure Cooker Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

I used avocado oil with no issues, Leah. If I didn't have that, I'd use either schmaltz or, as a last choice, coconut oil. I don't mind the smell/taste of coconut oil, and I think a lot of its aroma gets lost in a high heat application like this, but YMMV.

For the record, I needed to add more fish sauce (and ultimately just added some plain ol' salt). I used Flying Horse on Earth brand because it was what I had.

I made this for my bullpen at work, and we all loved it. Thanks, Kenji!

In Defense of St. Louis-Style Pizza

The biggest problem with STL-style pizza is that it is nearly impossible, if you live in STL, to find a good non-STL-style pizza if that's what you want that particular day. Yes, there are now exceptions to this rule -- Pi in the Loop, Dewey's, which is a chain -- but by and large, most mom n' pop places only serve STL-style, and it's NOT pizza.

I think that's where the hate comes from, Kenji, and I'm one of the haters. You were experiencing it as a drive-by; we had to live with the horror (and don't get me started on the salads many STL restaurants serve -- more cold, rope-like proved than veggies; that is NOT okay).

Though if someone had introduced me to Imo's Pizza Nachos, I might have hated it less. But at some point in my STL tenure I wanted a nice, soft-yet-chewy slice, and my options were Papa John's, Pizza Hut, or Domino's...the last of which I hate more than Imo's, if such a thing is possible.

Quick and Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken, Lentil, and Bacon Stew with Carrots

Made this tonight in my InstantPot with no changes other than shorting the quart of chicken stock by a half cup or so. So easy and good, even the (somewhat fussy) 21-month-old ate every bite and was scraping the bottom with her spoon. And her utensil skills are not normally all that accurate. Thanks, Kenji!

1-Hour Pressure-Cooker Texas-Style Chile Con Carne

Looks great, and may try some weekend when I want to defrost part of my 1/2 cow. Thank you for all these pressure cooker recipes! I've done a lot with my InstantPot in the year I've had it, but you've inspired me to do more!

Spicy Thai Salad With Minced Pork (Larb) From 'Everyday Thai Cooking'

Loved it. I used a heartier lettuce (green leaf) and it stood up well to the warm pork. Also adjusted up the sweetness for our American tastes. Would gladly make this again.

Win a Copy of 'Heritage'

Cornbread. Forever.

Traditional French Cassoulet

So after step 6, no more cover for the pot?

Can you give measurements on the gelatin? I buy it in bulk at the hippymart and, alas, do not have packets. Muchas gracias!

Layered Toasted Coconut Puddings With Red Fruit Puree and Coconut Cream

This looks interesting, but holy crow that's a lot of components.

Win a Copy of 'Sweet and Vicious: Baking With Attitude'

My super fudgy brownies.

10 Flavored Vodkas You Should Really Try

Imma let you finish, but Deep Eddy Ruby Red is the best grapefruit vodka ever.

Win a Copy of 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen'

Salsa criolla is wonderful on pretty much everything savory.

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef With Leeks and Onions

This was really excellent. I wish it had been a bit spicier, but I blame that more on the chilies I used than the recipe. My market only had "Japanese hot chilies" and I just don't think they're spicy enough.

Anyway, we liked it a lot. If I had to liken it to something you find all the time in the US, it'd be a grown up "Mongolian beef", but it's better than that, and we'll be making it again.

Golden and Crisp Blueberry Crumble Bars

That was going to be my question. :D Awesome! I've been looking for a blueberry bar recipe!

Cook the Book: 'The Nourished Kitchen' by Jennifer McGruther

Pickles. Pickles are the greatest.

Knife Skills: How to Slice Scallions

Oh my god. THAT'S what that scallion brush was for.

I never realized it had a practical purpose. o_o

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

Pad prik king is delicious with sticky rice.

Vegan Mayonnaise

I tried this with the eggplant. Super runny. Waste of good oil. :| Very disappointed.

Bake the Book: First Prize Pies

Pumpkin. No love.

Are Shooter's Sandwiches Really Worth a Damn?

I had a coworker raving about making a shooter's sandwich, and how as the reigning foodie I really really needed to try it, but I'm glad now I didn't give in to the hype.

I am curious as to the combinations you like, Kenji. Can't wait!

Four & Twenty Blackbirds' Black Bottom Lemon Pie

Agreed with aixpat. Mine spent about 50 minutes in the oven, all told.

This was a very unique pie. Not quite tangy enough, IMO, but also not bad.

My tweaks: I used a TJ's frozen pie crust because I didn't really PLAN to make this and I just wanted pie without the fuss. I also used regular lemons because...look, it's not you, Meyer lemon, it's me. I really just don't like you. I wish I did. Everyone says I should. But...I don't.

Despite those changes, I think this turned out great. Taste profile is similar to a See's candy truffle with a lemon center. I wouldn't make this often, but I would make this if I was going to an adventurous dinner party. Or felt like a little chocolate with my lemon.

Cook the Book: 'Nom Nom Paleo' by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong

Steaks. Delicious, pan-seared steaks.

The Best and Worst Coffee Beans at Trader Joe's

We go for the Organic Fair Trade Wake Up Blend. We're boring hipsters that way.

Individual Pies Done Right at Betty's Pie Whole in San Diego

Yessss. Their sister restaurant (Elizabethan Desserts) is also fantastic! Catered my wedding fantastic! :D

Is It Just Me, or Does Saffron Taste Terrible?

I have had it three times now where I was aware of it:

1) Once in paella (ruined the paella)
2) Recently in a semifreddo (ruined my dessert)
3) More recently in a pasta sauce with tomatoes and cream (didn't quite ruin dinner, but didn't help it)

Times 1 and 3 I cooked it myself. Time 2 was at a Rather Nice Italian Restaurant, so I assume they knew what they were doing, but good heavens -- the stuff tastes like gasoline in a monkey's butt to me. Not that I would know what that tastes like.

You might ask yourself why I keep cooking with it, but having seen so many recipes that call for (and adore) the stuff, I assumed on times #1 and 2 that I or the pastry chef had done something wrong. But after meal #3, I have come to the conclusion that it may not be me.

And yet, I cannot help but feel that in my years of eating abroad and at home I must have had saffron and not noticed it. I had bouillabaisse for the first time in December and loved it. The paella I ate in Barcelona was fantastic. But I do not know if these things really had saffron in them. Perhaps the chefs omitted them, just as I would if I were making them in my own kitchen today.

So what's the deal? Why do people like gasoline/latex paint flavor in their food? Is it just bad saffron that I (and the upscale restaurant) have/had? Is it a money thing -- people using the spice because they know it's expensive? Enlighten me. Thanks!

Traditional Beef Pho

There are few things better for the soul or the body than a tangle of slick rice noodles in a rich, crystal clear, intensely beefy broth; the warm aroma of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise rising up in a cloud of steam. The intensely savory-salty hint of fish sauce balanced by a squeeze of lime juice and a handful of fresh herbs and chilies that you add to your bowl as you eat. Here's how to make it at home. More

Eat for Eight Bucks: Cold Noodles

For as long as there have been noodles, the Chinese have been warding off heat stroke by chilling and serving them, with a smattering of slivered goodies, in pools of sesame and chili oils. Admittedly, this version is not strictly faithful to that history—but it doesn't clump, either. More