I'm an avid traveler, university graduate, culinary graduate and chef who enjoys working with and learning about food.

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  • Favorite foods: My favorite style of food is Southern Mexican and Caribbean cuisine.

Latest Comments

Crusty Juicy Steak

This guy is asking advice on how to make the perfect steak and the majority of answers are extremely obvious, i.e. use a hot pan or grill, brush with a high temperature oil (not butter btw) and let it rest. Any decent cook should know these steps. So let us not assume he is a blithering idiot.


There have been a few good tips here.

1) Patting off excess surface moisture (also obvious, but not followed by many)
2) Bringing the meat to room temperature (obvious, but not as much to some)
3) Saltcuring choice cuts (not so obvious) or buying dry-aged, prime cuts.

There is no time guideline to follow when cooking a steak since there are many variables at play. Instead, go by instinct, feel and look.

The perfect Margarita! Who has a recipe?

No one said anything about tradition. Agave nectar is all natural and super sweet, like stevia. Only small amounts are needed so I doubt you would be able to taste it in your margarita. It's not a prominent flavor like honey. Besides, tequila is made from agave... it's the main component in a margarita. So if you don't like the flavor of agave then why are you drinking a margarita?

The perfect Margarita! Who has a recipe?

There's nothing unappetizing about make-ahead margaritas. That's perfectly acceptable for certain cases. It's the ingredients that you mentioned make it unappetizing. Frozen limeade concentrate cannot and should not replace fresh squeezed lime juice. You shouldn't use just any tequila (Cuervo Gold in particular, which is 51% actual tequila). Triple sec is very sugary and chemical tasting, I'd opt for Cointreau or Patron Citronge; some people use Grand Marnier, but that's an expensive margarita. Water should never be used in a margarita, but I see why you used it here... to dilute the sugary limeade concentrate.

Stick with 100% agave tequila, light agave syrup or nectar (which can be found in most supermarkets now) and fresh lime juice. An orange liqueur other than triple sec is optional, but not necessary. So that's basically three quality ingredients. Nothing complex about it and it won't break the wallet. With a bottle of Hornitos tequila at $24, Agave syrup at $3 and fresh limes at $2, you can make all the quality make-ahead margaritas you want with some to spare.

Cuervo Gold = $15, Triple Sec = $10, Frozen Limeade Concentrate = $1

So you're saving about $3 for bad flavor and a possible hangover. Doesn't make sense to me, but do as you will.

What is Your Absolute Favorite "Ethnic" Cuisine?

Okay, Kitchenista. So you're saying that 120 comments minus the two you wrote were basically written by immature children? I think we'll continue to have fun and develop as a food community regardless if anyone posts negativity and criticisms. Thanks for the input though! I for one enjoy reading what everyone has to say.

The Burger Lab: How to Make Perfect Thin and Crisp French Fries

I mentioned blanching in water (3 step process) in your previous fry post.

I'm kind of shocked that you didn't know about this technique. Good tip on the vinegar and salt (I'll try this next time) though when I water-blanch fries, I don't experience as much sogginess as the pictures without salt and vinegar represented in your photoes. A quick blanch should get the job done for the most part (maybe with some crumbling). But if you experience too much sogginess then you are probably blanching too long.

LOST Party Outcomes

Bird brain... No one cares about your Lost philosophy. Move on.

You're the star - which food show?

Didn't realize everyone had super sensitive feelings. Maybe YOU should realize that it's my opinion. Everyone has opinions. If you don't like it, move on. No need to berate me for beleiving what I believe. I personally think food network is holding us back as a nation culinarily speaking. It's about entertaining, not increasing skill.

You're the star - which food show?

@lollie: I've been in the restaurant industry for 10+ years. I've met Jacques Pepin, Thomas Keller and other prestigous chefs as well as the less prestigious cook-chefs like Flay and Sandra Lee. I think that working in the industry qualifies me for some concept of how chefs think and what chefs do. This has been a topic of conversation many of times. Practically no chef watches food network because they know it is a joke. Yes, some people watch food network for entertainment (even I watch Iron Chef sometimes) but even more people watch it to become a better cook. This is the same reason that people on members of SE. To break this down in the mind of a chef, that's like a doctor watching Grey's Anatomy to learn how to perform surgery. When you realize that the stuff portrayed on food network is suited for middle-aged housewives who only know the basics of cooking, you realize the same content is not suitable for a chef. Sorry if you were offended by my personal opinion on the matter. I have nothing against TV chefs like Pepin. But when Ray is known as the richest cook in the nation, there's a big problem with that. It's called entertainment and marketing and it's downplaying the work done by real chefs who perform their craft in ways that most people have no idea.

The 25 Most Influential Cocktails of the Past Century

No I am not. Influence would inspire people to order it. If very few people are ordering it, where is the influence? As far as I know, I'm one of very few people that orders these traditional and now obscure drinks in North NJ. As I said, a few hip neighborhoods in NYC and LA may have a slightly larger connoisseur cocktail fan base, but it's not what I see here.

The 25 Most Influential Cocktails of the Past Century

@Adam: Sorry.

@Ktinnyc: I didn't mean "nobody", I meant "very few". They are dying cocktails. For every 100 margaritas ordered in the US each day, 0 to 1 Moscow Mules are probably ordered. Does that make drinks like the MM enough to be one of the top influential cocktails in the world? You decide.

LOST Party Outcomes

Lol, calm down. Majority rules. It sucked. It's not the end of the world.

I wasn't referring to ice cream as having any connection to Lost. It was a completely separate thought. But I'm glad you enjoyed it for your dinner!

ISO lower alcohol white wine

11.5% is kind of average. Low would be 7 to 10%. I would look for great flavor, regardless of alcohol content.

Try Maso Canali Pinot Grigio. It's around $15-20, dry with tropical notes and isn't vapid like most Italian PG's.

If you want more crisp/citrusy flavors, explore the world of Sauvignon Blanc/Sancerre.

How to Make Risotto


I see you added the restaurant/sheet pan method to your last slide. I just wanted to clear up some confusion. This parcooking technique has no impact on the flavor of the final product. If I make risotto via the traditional way or the restaurant way, you will never tell the difference. It is entirely a matter of convenience to feed many people at once. If done properly, the risotto rice should be a little more than halfway cooked (the rice should still be very bland and too hard for risotto). No flavorings should be added until you are ready to finalize the risotto, at which point you're basically picking up where you left off. Except this time, you won't have to wait too long for the rice to reach the desired texture.

Many restaurants parcook items. Some do this for unacceptable items such as fish, where they sear the skin side and cook it halfway so the next day they can pop it in the oven and finish it in minutes. I do not condone this technique unless you are feeding hundreds of people for a wedding or a similar reception. Parcooking risotto is completely different. You're not sacrificing flavor or texture. You are simply making things more convenient. It would be an issue however if the restaurant let the same cooled sheet tray of parcooked risotto sit in the walk-in refrigerator for a week. Risotto prepared this way should be cooked in a day or two.

Avocado fat; bad?!

Cold-pressed avocado oil is one of the best all-purpose oils in the world for a variety of reasons. High smoke point (490 F +), high monounsaturated fats (good fats which prevent heart disease) and vitamin E, extremely low in saturated fats, contains no cholesterol, full of antioxidants and has cancer fighting properties, it's higher than olive oil in Omega-9 fatty acids - some say the best part of the Omega chain in fish oil supplements. The virgin variety is also high in chlorophyll and lutein.

And yes, it's pressed from the fruit, not the pit.

LOST Party Outcomes

Glad to know that one of every dozen people are satisfied with a mediocre finale that focused on character resolution and homemade dark chocolate ice cream.

You're the star - which food show?

That's not what I said. I basically said that people who sit at home and watch Food Network in awe of these TV chefs have no idea what true culinary skill is. The popular chefs/cooks on TV are mostly on there for your entertainment. Additionally, they dumb down recipes so they are easier to create for the average home cook. Now, I'm not totally bashing them. They might actually be much more talented than they show their viewers. But if they taught the average home cook the proper way, the difficult way, the technical way... then they wouldn't keep their ratings.

Easy, DIY fresh pasta recipe?

Semolina is great for intricate bite pastas like tortellini. It keeps everything from sticking to each other, including your fingers when forming. When mixed in proportion with 00 flour, it adds a certain chewiness to the pasta.

For a basic, but rich pasta dough, I would go with:

8 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1 tablespoon whole milk

Once you master this, try your hands at hand-shaped bite pastas using semolina and 00.

You're the star - which food show?

@Pintchow: I was referring to the blown-out of proportion, popular TV chefs/cooks like Flay, Ray, Batali, DeLaurentis, Lee, etc.

A lot of people think they are God's and if they ever studied other real life chefs then they would truly know what talent really is. Jacques Pepin is on TV and he is a great chef, but he also doesn't have his own talkshow, or pretentious attitude, or short-cuts that defy his principles. So to answer the question, I'll go with JP.

You're the star - which food show?

Most TV chefs aren't nearly as talented as those who practice their craft out of the spotlight. Six TV chefs off the top of my head don't equate to the skill of one Keller.

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Lemonade?

Haha, master cleanse lemonade is not at all similar to the taste of real lemonade. It's cayenne, maple syrup, water and lemon juice. How did you feel after that program? Renewed or indifferent?

How to Make Risotto

@Jeanne-Marie & Wunami: You only stir when it's ready for another ladleful of liquid or just enough for it not to burn. You're not actively stirring for 20 minutes straight.

@Wunami: That's precisely what I was saying. Restaurants don't spend the time to make it from scratch for each order either. Instead, they parcook it beforehand and when an order comes in, the cook will finalize the risotto within a couple minutes. So if you're a home cook who really loves risotto and you want to have it more than once a week, then I suggest parcooking the rice using part of Kumiko's instructional and then finally turning it into risotto when you want to eat it.

Chicken Fat - What for?

The same way duck fat can be used. Although it's no comparison. Buy duck fat and you'll rarely use any other fat for savory cooking again.

How to Make Risotto

@bobbob: A pressure cooker takes 10 minutes according to lawofmurphy. I don't think 10 minutes more via the traditional method is too much time spent on cooking, do you? I think it's very worth it, especially since the flavor and texture are increased tenfold with this method.

If saving time minutes before dinner is the problem, then you can always parcook the risotto without adding the cheese, butter and other flavorings and add them at that time. That's how we do it at the restaurant. The parcooked rice is lined on sheet trays. When we get an order in, the rice is turned into risotto in a couple minutes.

How to Make Risotto

Kumiko, nice risotto!

@lawofmurphy, there are shortcuts for everything. Some good, some not so good. Risotto made in a pressure cooker won't be the same (flavor and texture wise) as risotto made via the traditional method. If you're not convinced, have your wife follow Kimiko's recipe as well as her pressure cooker recipe and do a side-by-side comparison. Make sure your wife doesn't tell you which is which before you eat them both!