Latest Comments

Is it safe to cut mold off of cheese?

Blue/green or white mold on cheese is "safe".
Red or black mold on cheese is dangerous. Throw it away.

Non-kitchen items in your kitchen?

I have a digital postage scale from Staples that does double-duty as a kitchen scale.

Meatloaf: In the pan or on a sheet?

I've done it both ways. The method is less critical than the quality and balance of the ingredients. Good quality meat won't be greasy. I get mine ground at my German butcher the same day I make it.
Of course, the taste and texture improves the next day, after chilling in the refrigerator.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 carrot
1 red bell pepper
1 medium tomato
1 large yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups coarse homemade white breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Hunt's ketchup
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
California sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 375F.
Dice and sweat the onions in the oil in a large saute pan. Dice the rest of the veg, and add to the pan. Cook until the veg begin to soften, then remove from heat, and cool.
Gently mix everything in a bowl. Do not over work meat. Transfer to 10 inch pyrex loaf pan. Score the top of the loaf with the tines of a fork, then sprinkle generously with paprika. Bake at 375F to 155F in center.
Rest 10 min. in pan to let some of the juices reabsorb, then pour off any remaining liquid from the bottom of the dish.

Sam Sifton's Basic Cranberry Sauce

My recipe is similar to this one. I use a little bit less sugar, 2/3 cup, and a pinch of salt.
I also add 2 tsp. Lebanese orange flower water to give it a wonderful citrus aroma.

Kitchen Gadgets: Unexpected Hits?

I have a battery-operated Aerolatte milk frother for cappuccino, but I also use it to quickly emulsify salad dressings, and whip egg whites.

Favorite Jewish Foods to Cook?

@smsingram, It's not sweet, it tastes just right. If you can let it rise longer than the recommended time before baking, it will be even lighter.

Favorite Jewish Foods to Cook?

Prep plus cooking time 5 hours

1 envelope rapid rise active dry yeast
7 oz. fresh cider or unfiltered apple juice
3 extra large eggs at room temp.
3 tbsp. light olive oil
1/4 cup honey
24 oz. all-purpose flour, sifted (4 cups)
1 heaping tbsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt

instant read thermometer
food processor w/plastic dough blade
pastry brush
baking sheet
Silpat or parchment paper

Whisk one egg with one tbsp. honey for egg wash, and reserve.
Combine two eggs, remaining 3 tbsp. honey, and oil in the food processor. Pulse until mixed. Heat cider to 115 degrees in the microwave. Stir in yeast until dissolved. Pour yeast through the feed tube of processor and pulse. Add half the flour and salt to the workbowl, and process until smooth. Add remaining flour and salt. Process until dough pulls away from the sides of the workbowl in a ball. Place dough on a lightly-floured work surface and gently knead for 30 sec.
Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place covered bowl in a warm place until it doubles in volume (approx. 2 hrs.)
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into three pieces and gently roll into ropes approx. 12 inches long and 1 inch thick. Place ropes on baking sheet covered with parchment. Braid three ropes into a loaf. Pinch ends together, and tuck under.
Brush loaf with the egg wash. Cover loaf with plastic wrap. Return to warm place to rise again for 2 more hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center position. Bake for 20 to 22 min. until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Culinary Torch Recommendations

The basic, Bernz-O-Matic brass pencil head will run you about $35 at a hardware store. Also buy a blue propane cylinder, which should last for months, if not years. Might be a good idea to buy an ABC fire extinguisher for your kitchen at the same time, if you don't already have one.

Good Bread: Challah To Seek Out for Rosh Hashanah in NYC

Why not bake your own?

1 envelope active dry yeast
3 eggs
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup honey
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
Diamond Crystal kosher salt

Instant read thermometer
Food processor w/plastic dough blade
Pastry brush
baking sheet
parchment paper or Silpat

Combine two eggs, honey, and olive oil in the food processor. Pulse until mixed. Stir yeast packet into 7 oz. of warm water at 110F to 115F. Pour yeast mixture into the processor through the feed tube while running. Add half the flour. Process until smooth. Add remaining flour and 1 tbsp. salt. Process until dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the workbowl. Place dough on a lightly-floured work surface and gently knead into a ball.
Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel. Place covered bowl in a warm place until it doubles in volume (your oven may have a "proof" setting for this).
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into three equal pieces and gently roll into ropes 12” long and 1" thick. Place ropes on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Braid three ropes into a loaf. Pinch ends together. Cover loaf with damp towel. Return to warm place to rise again for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350F and set rack in center position. Separate third egg and whisk 1 tsp. water to make egg wash (white not used). Brush top of loaf. Bake for 25 min, or until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Glass cooktop

That cooktop cleaning cream works, but it is very messy. I don't use it.
Remove heavy build-ups of burned-on food with a razor blade. Smaller messes can be cleaned with a "gentle" (blue) scrubber sponge and soapy water, or Comet cleanser. A Brillo pad is safe, if you are careful. However, a heavy-duty (green & yellow) ScotchBrite scrubber sponge will scratch it, do not use that. After cleaning, buff the glass with a dry kitchen towel.
Small scratches are inevitable, but avoid dragging rough-bottomed cookware over the surface, especially cast iron and enamelware. Remember this mantra: "Pick up and set down...pick up and set down..."

Roommate/College Food Stories

I guess this is a roomate/college food story, sort of.
I went to school in Boston, and my roomate and I decided to go SCUBA diving one day in Nahant, which is a little peninsula just north, where the Coast Guard has a maritime station. I parked my car on the street, and we entered the water. When we came out, the car was gone. I should mention, at this point, that my car was sporting a little SCUBA flag decal on the bumper, and NJ plates.
We're standing there in our black rubber wetsuits, not sure what to do, when the local cops roar up and jump out of the car, practically with their guns drawn. "OK, where are the lobsters?" they barked. "We don't have lobsters", I insisted.
"You must be poaching the local fishermen's traps down there, what else would you be doing?". "Just doing a sport dive", I protested.
"Well, you are not allowed to park on the street around here, punk, your car has been towed to Lynn."
All my ID, and what little cash I had, was locked inside the car, so I had to hitchhike to Lynn, dressed head-to-toe in a dripping wet black wetsuit, while my friend waited behind. I looked like an alien! I finally got a ride, and when I got to the impound lot, the fine was cash-only, and, of course, I did not have enough money to reclaim my car. I took my wallet out of the glovebox, and set off down the street.
Soon after, I realized that it was a holiday, and all the banks were closed (this was before the days of ATM's). I needed to cash a personal check, and badly, because it was getting late in the day.
I spied a pharmacist leaving his store, locking the door behind him. I accosted him, and, still in my black wetsuit, pleaded with him to cash my out-of-state check for $10. He must have thought that I was from Mars, because it took a lot of convincing, but I finally got the ten, and walked back to the lot for my car.
I got there, and now the Lynn cops were waiting for me, ordering me to open the trunk, again searching for the stupid lobsters. They were quite disappointed that they couldn't lock me up in the pokey for the crime of the century.
I returned to find my roomate, shivering. We both vowed never to dive at Nahant again. BTW, lobsters only cost $2 a pound in those days. It never occurred to me to steal them. The End.

Wusthof Silverpoint II 10 Piece Set vs. Classic 7" Santoku?

A bunch of cheap knives, half of which you will never need, is not a good value. Get one good knife, and build on that. A 7" santoku is very useful. In addition to that, look for a 3.5" parer, a medium-sized serrated knife, and an 8" or 10" chef's knife. Those four knives will suffice for at least 90% of the kitchen tasks you will encounter.
If you want to learn what's on the market, spend some time browsing this website:


Sorry, check that--Wednesday through Saturday.


Don't know if you live in the NYC metro area, but Lopes Sausage Co., 304 Walnut St., Newark, NJ, (973) 344-3063 produces amazing applewood-smoked sausages, including chouriço, chorizo, linguiça, morcelas, morcilla, and salpicao. Their retail butcher shop is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. They do ship.

If you could have one cooking item...

I have a whole arsenal of very sharp knives, but mandolins scare me. Instead, I got a 1mm slicing disk for my Cuisinart. It's perfect for things like making potato chips, or julienning a fennel bulb for a salad.

What should I get at local asian supermarket? (Vegetarian)

I buy bok choy, mustard greens, soy sauce, katsu sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, Thai coconut milk, genmaicha (roasted brown rice green tea), matcha (for green tea ice cream), jasmine brown rice, red rice, somen, soba, and udon noodles, wasabi, and Japanese snack mix.

Embarrassing childhood foods

Fine idea, and timely. I have to make four PB&J sandwiches to carry in my pockets for a 100 mile bike ride tomorrow. They are sure to get squished, so I will make them with lightly toasted Arnold Brick Oven white bread (easier to digest than whole wheat).

Scoopable ice cream: corn syrup, alcohol, both?

Never tried vodka, although a tablespoon or two of liqueur is a good idea, as much for flavor as texture. Many of my recipes include 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract, and/or 1-2 tbsp. rum, Tia Maria, Chambord, Grand Marnier, etc.
I tried corn syrup once, but I don't think it is the key. If you get the custard right, with the proper fat and sugar content, freeze the churned ice cream overnight, then let it thaw for a couple of minutes on the countertop before scooping, it should be creamy. You can spoil the party if you try to add pureed fruit with a high water content, i.e. strawberries. Cook the fruit down to a thick coulis on the stove before incorporating it, and if it is still ends up being a large volume of liquid, reduce the milk accordingly.

5 egg yolks, as fresh as possible
1-3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp. table salt
plus flavorings

Embarrassing childhood foods

I would have to bring matzo sandwiches to school for a week. I was teased and bullied anyway, not necessarily for that. But, by forcing gratutious and silly religious superstitions on me as a child, my parents succeeded in turning me a card-carrying athiest as an adult.

Easy Apricot Chicken Recipe

Cubed Spam instead of the chicken, or on the top?

Crispy Cookies

This is a good recipe for THIN & CRISPY OATMEAL COOKIES. The secret is the proportion of baking powder to baking soda. The cookies will rise in the oven, then collapse and crisp up as they brown. Store in an airtight container. I use Tupperware without a problem. Recipe yields two dozen 3 inch cookies.

14 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
2-1/2 cups Quaker old–fashioned oats

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and mix until incorporated. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a bowl, add to batter, and mix until just combined, then add the oatmeal and mix.

Scoop batter into balls with a #40 (2 tbsp) ice cream scoop and lay out 8-up on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Flatten batter balls with the heel of your hand to about 3/4 inch thick.

Preheat oven to 325F. Bake one sheet at at time for 15 min, or until cookies are golden brown with crisp edges. Place cookie sheet on a wire cooling rack, and cool the cookies on the sheets.

Ice Cream Maker Recommendations?

I buy inexpensive, canned coconut milk at the Asian market, which all seems to be imported from Thailand. I like CHAKOH brand, but it doesn't matter, as long as you use unsweetened coconut milk, not "lite" coconut milk, coconut water, or coconut cream. More accurately, my recipe calls for two 13.5 oz. cans.
I also use unsweetened coconut flakes for the topping, but you can use sweetened baking coconut, if you prefer.

Ice Cream Maker Recommendations?

I have the KA mixer attachment, and I use it year-round. If I didn't own it, I'd get the Cuisinart. You can find used, basic Cuisinarts on eBay for $20-$40. A new one will run you $50-$60. It's fun to make your own frozen treats. Here's a simple recipe to get you started:

5 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
2–14 oz. cans unsweetened Thai coconut milk
2 tbsp. rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut

1) Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Combine the coconut milk, salt, and sugar in a 2 qt. saucepan, and heat to barely a simmer. Slowly whisk a little of the cream mixture into the bowl of eggs, to temper. Transfer back into the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the custard thickens. Strain the custard into a 1 quart pyrex cup. Place cup in an ice bath to cool down. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
2) Toast the coconut in a 300°F oven, in a pie plate, until golden. Cool.
3) Add the vanilla extract and the rum into the cooled custard. Churn in the ice cream maker 15-20 min. Transfer the ice cream into a 5 cup plastic container using a large rubber spatula. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top. Chill in freezer overnight.