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rballenger

Cook the Book: 'Plenty'

I made a ridiculous mushroom bourgingnon a few months ago. Who knew you didn't need beef!

Weekend Giveaway: 'Clean Start'

When it's cold, all I want is grilled cheese-- seriously! When it gets warmer, I crave fresh veggies, nothing cooked or covered in cheese, just snappy, juicy, bright green veg!

Cafeteria Food

I went to a private performing arts boarding school, and I have to say that the food wasn't great. I can't compare it to public schools, but the food wasn't very well-cooked, presented, or prepared, and the options were severely limited. The baked goods were good because they weren't made in-house, and on Sundays we got an ice cream sundae buffet. I mean, it could have been worse.

At my college, the cafeteria is TINY. Granted, I go to school in the heart of NYC so most people just eat deli salads and Starbucks. I get salads there if I'm feeling cheap, coffee if I'm feeling desperate, and granola bars if I'm actually looking for something real to put into my body. Plus it's poorly organized and pretty darn nasty to boot.

Cook the Book: 'The Book of Tapas'

Melone e prosciutto!

Columbus cirlce Italian spot ?

Puttanesca on 56th (?) and 9th is really good. And Gabriel's is on 60th st.

Where to eat in Florence, Italy?

L'Osteria della Cingale Bianco. We ate there three times when we were staying in Florence for a week about 8 years ago. It's around the corner from the Ponte Vecchio. If nothing's changed, the food (especially the ribollita and the white bean antipasto) is amazing and the staff is wonderful.

Win Tickets to Housing Works 'A Taste of Home' Celebrity Chef Benefit

I second Jean-Georges.

Lobster Rolls from the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

I grew up on Newick's in Dover, NH. I miss amazing lobsta!

Weird food quirks?

The one I get flak for-- eating my pizza backwards. I eat the crust first, then down to about the middle, and come back up from the bottom. The bottom fourth of a pizza slice is, in my opinion, the best part.

I also always save the absolute perfect bite for last, with all the right parts and flavor balances.

Etiquette for Eating on Planes/Trains/Buses

I always bring some kind of food when I fly, but usually it's snacky, since because of time changes my meal times are messed up. I like fruit, nuts, granola bars, sometimes veggie wraps. Lorenzo, while I appreciate what you said, my travel days are LONG (my flight from NYC home to Idaho takes twelve hours, including connections) and I think it's unfair to make travelers pay for overpriced, not fresh airplane or airport food. Basically, I think that travelers should use their discretion and sense of politeness. And as far as those who consume full meals on the NYC subways-- man, it's YOUR choice to put your fork anywhere near those brownish seats.

Bread flour help.. It's so expensive!

From SmittenKitchen.com:

The biggest different between all-purpose and bread flour is the amount of gluten: bread flour has more of it. But it may seem annoying to have to keep a giant bag of bread flour around if you’re only an occasional bread-baker. Enter a product known as a “gluten additive” or gluten flour, something you can usually add one tablespoon of to each cup of all-purpose flour to turn it into bread flour. Think of all the cabinet space you’ll save!

Intro to Mormon Cuisine in Utah: Jell-O, Funeral Potatoes, and More

I'm from Idaho and all about the fry sauce! I feel no shame for my Western tradition. Though tablemates may stare at me for slathering my fries with the stuff, once they've tried it, they understand. Best thing ever.

best pho in nyc

I'm curious about a good vegetarian pho. I feel like I've been hearing about pho for months but have yet to try it!

Kombucha: The Acquired Taste for Funky-Tasting Fermented Tea

I'm drinking some right now (a brand I've never tried called Carpe Diem that was onsale at Whole Foods)! I like Kombucha, but it's really expensive. I don't FULLY believe in all the health claims, but I like the carbonation, the kind of funny taste, and it's much healthier than drinking soda or some fruit juices and things with tons of sugar.

good eating - Hell's Kitchen (and the rest of NY)

Hell's Kitchen has some great eats! 9th Ave is really little Thailand, and a lot of places offer great lunch specials. My personal favorite is Thai Basil on 9th btwn 55th and 56th-- it's $7 for a salad, spring roll, and a full-sized entree, I think. Wondee Siam II on 9th btwn 53 and 54 is another favorite.

My favorite 9th Ave "new" American restaurant is Eatery on 9th and 53rd (and its sister Whym on 9th and 58th) has fantastic fresh, delicious, interesting meals. Their brunch is also absolutely worth a try-- the stuffed French Toast is out of this world.

Amy's Bread on 9th btwn 46th and 47th is a good place for a panini or a breakfast pastry.

Kashkaval on 9th btwn 55th and 56th is a really fun wine bar/fondue place. Staffed by friendly people and DELICIOUS nibbles, it can sometimes get a little pricey with two people, but the atmosphere and the food is worth it. A great place to hang and linger.

Gazala Place on 9th btwn 48th and 49th is another really friendly, quite cheap Middle Eastern place. It's staffed by a family, and all the food is homemade and prepared right then. The baba ghanoush is the best I've ever had and the bureka are the best in the city.

Sapphire Indian on Bway right above Columbus Circle has the most amazing $14 lunch buffet I've ever experienced. There are lots of lunch buffets in Hell's Kitchen, but this one is the BEST.

Hope this helps! Enjoy your trip!

Easy, authentic Russian cuisine

I just came back from studying in Moscow (COLD!!) and the "dorm mother" where we stayed gave us her personal recipes for Russian favorites. I know that blini aren't "baking," and this is probably way TOO authentic (almost a little scary), but here's her recipe, just for kicks:

"all you need is to collect milk stuff odds&rests- keffire,sour milk,sour cream,cottage cheese or other.Doesn't matter. even yoghurts are Ok.for a big flock of people you'll need at lest a liter of yesterday's milk stuff.Beat 3 eggs into milk and whisk.Add salt,sugar to your taste and flour( ab 0,5kg).Before you start stirring the mixture with flour,add some baking soda.While you're stirring the mixture,heat a fr.pan with some oil(no matter what kind).When heated well,start putting dough with a big spoon.Normally you may have like 12-14 of small ones in one pan.They stick,but later you separate them with a spatula.Cover and wait 2 minutes,then turn onto the other side and cover the pan again.after a minute you may put them onto the big dish and start another set.i use 2 frying pans which makes the process twice faster.enjoy them with sour cream or jam or caviar."

Also, just as a note, the Russians in Moscow ate a lot of pastries-- poppy seed rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc.

Frugal Item to bring to Casual Party

Yeah, I have all those things (eggs, flour, butter, sugar). I have lots of lemon juice and lots of fresh ginger... cinnamon, milk, oats... some nice sea salt... various random items. Thanks for all the suggestions! And I'm totally the impoverished student you all guessed I was-- but boy, do I love to impress my friends with my cooking! Haha.

Need tofu recipe ideas!

I LOVE tofu. I recently made this and it was splendid: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/000110.html

Also, here's a delicious marinade-- I eat these suckers for snacks!

For 1 cake tofu:
1 Tbs olive (or veggie) oil
1Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp grated ginger root
1 garlic clove, pressed
2-3 tsp Sriracha

Quinoa

How about a quinoa rice pudding?

Vegetarian Faux Chicken Brands

I really like the Morningstar breaded chick'n nuggets. I know they're highly processed, but boy, they're tasty! I like them better than I ever liked regular chicken.

Restaurant Take-Home Treats

I got a couple of slices of cranberry walnut coffee cake from Ocean Grill. It was good, but what was better was that I was on my way to Russia, where the main food groups are sour cream and cabbage, so the leftover cake was an incredibly welcome treat.

Your Starbucks/Cafe order

I hate using the fake language too! But I always get scolded when I say "medium," so sometimes I cave. The last time this happened to me, I was in Moscow, Russia, and the Russian Starbucks barista actually said, "not medium, grande," and I was so floored I'm not sure I can order a "medium" ever again. How terrifyingly universal. (P.S. Don't scold me for going to Starbucks in Russia-- there's no coffee that's not instant anywhere else!)

I just like coffee, plain and simple, so I usually order that or an americano, sometimes with one pump of peppermint or hazelnut syrup if I'm in the mood for something different.

Good packed meals

I could certainly get one!

Cook the Book: Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

My spatula. Easily.

Christmas breakfast: Do you do anything special?

Christmas eve is our big night (LOBSTA!), but every Christmas morning my mom has pre-made a cheesy strata that she pops in the oven while we're opening stockings. Simple, yet divine. And of course, the main Christmas morning tradition is lots of coffee!!

Some birthday suggestions...

So I'm turning 21, and unfortunately, as literally ALL of my friends are involved in a show right now, I seem to be planning my own party. Here's where you Serious Eater's come in. I need some NYC suggestions! I don't know what I'm doing for sure, but I need suggestions in these realms:

1. A fun place to spend a 21st evening. Not super expensive (we are college students), but not a total dive. Somewhere people can drop in and drop out as they please without disrupting the party. A place where I may have to have a drink on my own and that would be okay.

2. Ideas for a nice birthday dinner for myself, a pescetarian student foodie. Somwhere I could potetially eat alone... like maybe a place with a great (yet affordable) tasting menu?

3. Any other suggestions! I'm also thinking of maybe forcing all my friends to eat my favorite food with me (lobster-- like a true New Englander) and making them bring the booze. Basically I'm just looking for ways to make my birthday not stressful for any of us busy people, but insanely fun.

Suggest away! Thanks so much.

Great Solo Dining in NYC

So with the Valentine's Holiday coming up and some birthday money to burn, I want to take myself out for a really good meal in New York (not necessarily on Valentine's Day). I'm looking to go into debt here, but I'm willing to spend a little more than a college student. :)

So, what are some of the best restaurants that would be good for a solo diner looking to experience something delicious?

Frugal Item to bring to Casual Party

So I'm going to a very casual party and want to bring something to share. Something nibbly, maybe a sweet treat, as most other people will probably be bringing beer or chips and salsa or something. Problem is, I'm on a very tight budget and can't really go out and buy any ingredients (or many).

I'm thinking shortbread or biscotti, maybe some other cookie recipe that requires very little except the basics. Does anyone have any good recipes for simple, yummy treats?

Thanks!

What's Your Go-To Cheese?

If you could only stock your fridge with one ore two types of cheese, what would they be?This cheese would probably fulfill all your cheese purposes, like on sandwiches, in main dishes, as a snack, etc.

As an alternate look at this question, what cheeses do you always have on hand for each of those "cheese purposes"?

Good packed meals

I'm a student that recently moved off-campus (I go to school in NYC). I'm thrilled, but also am realizing that work, classes, and rehearsals will keep me at school Mon-Fri from 10am to 10pm. If I don't want to eat out all the time, I will need to be able to pack enough food to satisfy me for lunch and dinner five days a week.

I'm looking for suggestions for yummy meals that can be packed and brought with me to school. I have microwave capabilities, but not refrigerator. I don't want to have to eat PB&Js for the next year and a half! (also, I'm a pescetarian...)

Thanks, SEat-ers!

Meals Near BAM in Brooklyn?

This Sunday, I'm taking my family down to BAM to see closing night of Streetcar. We'll either eat before (brunch) or after (dinner), and I don't know the neighborhood at all. We have a moderate budget, but I definitely want my Idahoan family to get a taste of something that feels very "Brooklyn", whatever that means to you. Thanks!

Party Food Suggestions

Hey all,
I'm going to a casual party Friday night that's a bit of a potluck. I love to cook so I want to bring something, but I am really pressed for time.

My requirements:
1. Must use mostly pantry items (not much time to shop)
2. I have to make it during the day for a night-time party-- should keep well.
3. Also, I have to be able to transport it easily on (I'll be on the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn).

Ideas? Thanks!

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