Tar Heel Fan

Transplanted Tar Heel living in Chicagoland! Love to read about cooking and to try and perfect my techniques through great sites like this one.

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  • Location: Park Ridge, Illinois

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The Food Lab: Follow These Rules For the Best Fried Rice


I have been craving "real" fried rice for more years than I can recall ... I still have fond memories of take-out from a restaurant in Greensboro, NC, of all places, that was just like this. It was perfection compared to the gloppy concoctions that are generally on offer. And, I have one recipe that comes close to this, but not quite.

Can't wait to make it; might even splurge for the wok linked from the article, since I have a gas stove.

@tiina513, I am not quite sure how I would describe your recipe, but as long as you find it tasty, that's what counts. I just don't think I'd call it traditional fried rice ...especially with the addition of honey.

22 Supermarket Items You Should Leave on the Shelf (and What to Get Instead)

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with markets that cater to Asian, Hispanic or other ethnicities, you really will find incredible deals on staples like produce, and a huge variety of pastas, rices, soy and fish sauce, just to name a few things big chain supermarkets don't carry a lot of SKUs of.

Ask around to find a good store near you!

Right now, where I live, lemons are 59 cents =each= and I think limes are 2/$1 (didn't need them last shopping trip so didn't notice).

I don't own one, but there are electric pepper mills on the market; Peugeot might be one of the brands.

Overall, I think I follow most of the tips on Kenji's list; there =is= a box of hamburger patties in the freezer at the moment, because I was worried some kids in a crowd coming over wouldn't care for whatever it was I planned to grill -- I've forgotten now what that was!

What I have found is that if you get in the habit of spending the extra time here and there, the tasks end up becoming just part of your cooking routine and not onerous.

Spaghetti With Carbonara Sauce

@babsa, wibeka would have to confirm, but I think salt pork and salted pork belly are two different things.

Salt pork is a big hunk of pork fat, with a few streaks of lean running through it. It is used as a cheap (flavorful!) seasoning in Southern cooking, particularly with green beans and collards.

Pork belly comes in a big slab; I use it to make the classic Italian dish porchetta (from Kenji's recipe, of course!)

Shrimp and Gruyère Cheese Grits With Bacon and Mushrooms

Imagine my surprise that large frozen shrimp were on sale for $5/pound this week, and that, at minimum, gruyere is 4x as expensive ... ouch!

However, I bit the bullet on the cheese because this recipe sounds utterly delicious. Making it tomorrow night!

@Yandros, your recipe sounds tasty, but I don't think it's remotely similar ...

Simple Grilled-Potato Salad With Grilled-Lemon Vinaigrette

PS No need to get two bowls dirty -- once the spuds are on the grill, use the same large bowl for the ingredients you toss them with once they are done as you used to prep them after parboiling.

And, if my rating doesn't show up on this second post, this recipe is definitely worth five stars!

Simple Grilled-Potato Salad With Grilled-Lemon Vinaigrette

PS No need to get two bowls dirty -- once the spuds are on the grill, use the same large bowl for the ingredients you toss them with once they are done as you used to prep them after parboiling.

And, if my rating doesn't show up on this second post, this recipe is definitely worth five stars!

Simple Grilled-Potato Salad With Grilled-Lemon Vinaigrette

Ho-hum, another delicious recipe brought to us from the brilliant mind of Kenji ... 😎

I am definitely going to make this again and again; my only reminder -- for me and those reading along -- is not to forget that those lemon halves are =hot= after 5 minutes on the grill (duh), so be sure to use tongs to take them off the grill and then squeeze over the salad.

I think you could also grill the lemon halves at the same time the potatoes are cooking, instead of waiting until after you pull them off the fire.

Ultra-Crispy Roast Potatoes

Perfectly delicious! I used bacon fat because that was what I had on hand, so I can only imagine how much the flavor would be pumped up with duck or chicken fat!

Since I was juicing some lemons anyway, I sprinkled some juice on top of some of the potatoes when they came out of the oven, and that added some brightness to the overall flavor profile, so I would recommend adding that in.

The Food Lab's Perfect Grilled Steaks

My name is Sharon, and I'm a salt-o-colic ... however, the bad memory of what happened the one time I salted steaks before they went on the grill linger.

Having said that, Kenji, you have never, ever steered me wrong, so I have been watching my rib-eyes do interesting things ever since I salted them. Fingers crossed they will turn out perfect when they get grilled tomorrow evening!

Oh -- as far as chimney starters, I have two, because the ones I found at the grocery store only hold 4 quarts. They weren't very expensive -- about $9 each, I think -- so I have been using both to get enough coals going.

Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce

Does this need time in the fridge before serving? My (former!) go-to recipe, from Southern Living, calls for 4 hours!

The Food Lab: How to Make the Best Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

OK, I am all set to make this tonight, but I have a question about broiling in my ancient Roper gas stove. It works just fine, but best I can tell, you can't adjust it for distance from the broiling element -- the frame for the broiler pan is stationery and pretty close to the flames.

This stove has got to be at least 40 years old (I'm in a rental, so don't know for sure), but I'm hoping one of my fellow SE and Kenji fans knows the best way to work with a setup like this.


Fingerling Potato Salad With Aioli, Pesto, Fried Shallots, and Pecorino

Boy does this sound fabulous! Can't wait to try it with fresh basil from my garden!

Win a Copy of 'Fried & True'

Got to have some cayenne in the flour mix!

Ask the Food Lab: What's the Point of Bay Leaves?

I got a different story growing up -- mom didn't say they were poisonous, she said the sharp tip and the vein could puncture something on its way down! I still am cautious about using a bay leaf big enough to easily find (and fish out ) after cooking, and have always warned my husband in case I forget!

My neighbors brought back a ton of fresh leaves from Italy a few months ago, and I have been enjoying them in my cooking. Now that they are totally dried out, I will put what is left from what they gifted me in the freezer!

Cook the Book: The 'Roberta's' Cookbook

Hot and Sour soup from scratch, start to finish!

Foolproof Pan Pizza

I am in a quandary -- after 17 hours, my dough volume is nowhere near 4-6x the initial mix. I used my OXO digital scale to measure ingredients, so I =think= all those were correct. So, what should I do? Keep letting it rise? Make just one pie with the dough as is? Or throw it out and start over? My yeast was Fleischmann's "RapidRise Highly Active Yeast" with a freshness date of Jan. 2015, and the flour was King Arthur's bread flour.

Thanks for any advice out there! (The dough now fills maybe one-third of my largest glass Pyrex mixing bowl; I am not seeing a size marking on the bottom to confirm how many quarts it holds.)

One Armed Bandit

Here's something that doesn't require measuring, just combining if you go the easiest route, which is by using jarred pesto:

-- Boil your favorite pasta with a generous helping of salt
-- Drain in a colander in which you have rinsed a 16-oz bag of your favorite frozen mixed vegetable (the hot cooking water will cook the vegetables)
-- Return pasta and vegetables to cooking pt
-- Add in a good slug of extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan cheese to taste, and chopped walnuts
-- Stir in a couple tablespoons of pesto (optional)

Still all ingredients together well; if necessary add a bit of pasta water to contents


(Obviously, if you want to use fresh vegetables of your choice and homemade pesto, you can)

The 10 Best Italian Beef Sandwiches in Chicago You've Probably Never Tried

@Flattopmaster, as you might surmise by my screen name here, I am not a native Chicagoan, so perhaps my enjoyment of some shredded mozz on an Italian beef could be construed as inauthentic ... but I like mine that way, and I'm sticking to it :)

@derricktung, I see the option to add cheese on lots of menus, which must be where I got the idea from. Not any of the classic places mentioned in this article, to be sure, but spots like Foto's in Mt. Prospect and Moondoggie's in Glenview, to think of two off the top of my head that were near where I used to work. And, of course, the aforementioned Portillo's.

Of course, I don't necessarily find ketchup on a hotdog to be heretical, either (and now I'm ducking and getting out of the way of any slings and arrows shot my way on that divisive subject!) ...

Healthy & Delicious: Homemade Peppermint Patties

After reading the comments, I went ahead and made a double batch. Yum! I put two "exemplars" in the freezer for QC purposes, so I wouldn't have to wait hours to see how they came out. In one word -- delicious!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: 'Round Things Are Tasty' Tote Bag

Since I just made some from the SE recipe, it would be Peppermint Patties!

All-Belly Porchetta

@konar -- your post made me remember how delicious this was, so I am making it again this year! You definitely saved a boatload per pound by going to Peoria Packing; Devon Avenue Meats' price was $3.98/lb, but it certainly was convenient -- I just walked over to the store yesterday and picked up my order. :)

What size is your pork belly? Mine is right at 7 lbs, which will work out just fine for my purposes.

Happy Cooking!

The 10 Best Italian Beef Sandwiches in Chicago You've Probably Never Tried

@cpd007, thanks on all counts! If I ever get a fresh battery for my dead-as-dirt one, I will motor over to the places you suggested above!

And, I'm sure your rooting for my beloved Tar Heels was what put them over the top Saturday against one of our most historic rivals, Kentucky! :) It was a very good day to be a Carolina grad ...

The 10 Best Italian Beef Sandwiches in Chicago You've Probably Never Tried

Oh dear -- I really like Tony's on NW Highway in Edison Park, but I have to admit I have not been to the sacred hangouts mentioned by cpd007 upthread. Since I'm right down the road in Park Ridge, Tony's will remain my go-to for beef, as well as Italian specialties in one convenient spot.

Roast Turkey Soup

Delicious! I did add in barley just because I could for an extra bit of hearty oomph.