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Scott569

How to Make the Crispiest Shredded Hash Browns

I like to use leftover baked potatoes for hash browns. Something about dry-cooked, chilled potato makes the hash come out with the most wonderful light crispy texture. For the fat, either butter or bacon fat depending on my mood.

10 Absinthes You Should Be Drinking

Personally I think flaming a sugar cube for just a few seconds would add a nice hint of caramel in addition to the straightforward sweetness of sugar. Call me a heretic if you must, I'll be over here putting ketchup on my hot dog and adding sugar to my marinara.

But those prices? Ouch. I'll have to save my pennies for a while before I can afford to try any of these. Great article, though, I appreciate it!

The Food Lab: How to Make Foolproof Eggs Benedict

This "breaking" phenomenon confuses me. I've made mayonnaise many times, both by hand and in a food processor, and the only time I've had one break was when making baconnaise (fixed by reducing the bacon fat/veg oil ratio). I've made hollandaise many times, using a steel bowl over direct heat, and never had one break. What am I doing wrong? Am I charmed?

The 11 Best Things I Ate During My Cross-Country Road Trip

Nice write-up. If I'd caught you coming through SLC, I'd have led you a hot plate joint with a chili verde that would haunt your dreams.

@rickZ, don't despair! Some places are still doing it right. I found that chili verde because I dedicated an entire summer to finding and trying at least one new hot plate joint each week. Most were just as you describe, but not all.

I will definitely be going to Fiesta Mexicana next time I'm in Moab (it's only a four hour drive, and camping in Arches NP is pretty awesome in cooler weather). I wanted to try that place last time I was down, but SWMBO outvoted me and we went to a place on the north end of town. They only served rewarmed disappointment.

Chinese Aromatics 101: Kung Pao Fish With Dried Chilies and Sichuan Peppercorns

Huh...my kung pao sauce features black bean paste, hoisin, and oyster sauce. Peanuts fried until smoky. Snow peas. Lots of garlic. I love Chinese cookery, not only does every region have its own style, but so does every cook!

Taste Test: The Best Fast Food Chicken Nuggets

@monopod, "pink slime" is/was beef, not chicken.

Also, McDonald's Hot Mustard. That is all.

The Best Food to Order at Panda Express

Panda Express fills a role the same way McDonald's does -- you walk in, you have a very good chance of getting what you're expecting. Contrast with the crap shoot of picking an unknown local eatery, which might be fantastic but could as easily be terrible. The national chains survive because they provide consistency.

That said, Panda does vary a bit -- whoever thinks their kung pao isn't spicy hasn't been to my neighborhood Panda, where there's no shortage of blackened dried chiles in that dish.

Pantry Essentials: All About Mayonnaise

Commercial mayo is white partly because emulsion, but also because they use a lot more oil per egg than we do at home. My homemade uses ½ to 1 cup of oil per yolk, and comes out with a nice yellow tint. Commercial mayos use...well, a lot more. I've seen references that claim one yolk can emulsify more than six gallons of oil. I don't think commercial makers use quite that much, since the egg flavor is important.

8 Great Hot Dog Topping Ideas

My personal favorite is one I saw on Food Network years ago - the Venezuelan: Dog topped with finely minced white onion, finely minced cabbage, and crushed plain potato chips.

The Best F&$king Grilled Chicken Sandwich Ever

I just want to say that grilling bacon in this way is a terrible idea. All that lovely rendered bacon fat, lost in the fire...so sad....

Other than that, this does look like a really great sandwich. It just needs a little more mayonnaise.

Ask a Bartender: How Do You Prevent a Hangover?

Avoid sugar and stick to clear spirits.

Manner Matters: Bread and Butter Basics

At a certain chain of Italian-style restaurants, they serve a small crusty loaf, but instead of butter you get a plate with olive oil and cracked black pepper. Tear off a bite, dredge in oil, eat, repeat. Obviously you don't dredge the whole loaf in oil, and it's polite not to double dip.

Taken this way, Molly's technique is perfectly sensible. Though I've committed the offense of buttering directly from the butter dish, rather than moving a portion of butter to my plate -- but always on a one-bite piece of bread, so no cross-contamination.

And the crumbs? One fancy restaurant I know, they have little table scrapers used expressly to sweep up those crumbs between courses. In other words, don't worry about the crumbs, they're expected!

Staff Picks: What to Drink at a Not-Great Bar

Double bourbon rocks or gin/tonic. Hard to mess up, and happen to be two of my favorites anyway.

Poll: Pineapple on Burgers: Way or No Way?

For me, it's not so much a burger with pineapple, but rather a warm pineapple sandwich with beef patty. I just can't figure out how to like it.

Open Thread: What's the Best Frozen Pizza?

Totinos! The best cheap snack to ever grace my freezer (right next to the pizza rolls, of course). Red Baron is also a favorite, but only when they're on sale, usually $5/2 or $10/3. When you get up into the "premium" frozen pizzas, it really starts to defeat the purpose. At those price levels, you're only a few dollars away from delivery.

The Food Lab: How to Make a Muffuletta Shooter's-Style Sandwich

TY Kenji, that makes sense. The bread that "keeps" in my fridge is the mass produced stuff with loads of preservatives. The "good" bread from the local bakery never lasts long enough to need keeping. (What's this, a leftover heel of sourdough? Let me just slather that with butter and shove it under the broiler for a minute. Yes. Yes I will.)

The Food Lab: How to Make a Muffuletta Shooter's-Style Sandwich

@Kenji, what's the science on bread staling faster in the refrigerator? That claim runs counter to what I'd expect (lower temps == slower chemical reactions) as well as my experience.

I do wish I could find a cappicola I liked. All the ones I've tried have been tough and unappetizing. I substitute prosciutto or black forest ham.

The Food Lab: The Ultimate Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos

@Kenji, you might not make sense of paleo/primal/Atkins/etc if you've never had to deal with the kind of health problems that those diets can help with. I did my research, I came to understand at least the basics of the biochemistry involved, and I gave it a shot. It worked, I got significant and measurable results. (Obviously the plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence", and YMMV. Just sayin'.)

That said, it would be pretty cool if you happened to turn your formidable skills to the problem of developing alternative versions of all the lovely starchy stuff that low-carbers miss. If you can turn potatoes into cheese, can you turn cheese into potatoes? ;)

The Food Lab: Vegan Nacho Sauce That's as Good as the Real Thing

@scalfin, "real" peanut butter is my preference, and it does separate on the grocer's shelf. I stir it back together, then store it in the fridge, upside down. It separates oh so slowly in the cold, and the oil goes to the bottom of the inverted jar, so you can still scoop butter from the top.

@bennyb, relax, OK? I'm not big into veganism myself, but I tremendously enjoy following Kenji's odyssey each February. He comes up with recipes that are awesome in their own right (especially the ones that are also, shockingly, low-carb or paleo), and even better are the accidental science moments, like figuring out that overbeating your poor potato starches produces a surprisingly useful texturing agent.

I love the science of cooking almost as I love great food. For my money, the Food Lab is the best thing to come along since AB's Good Eats.

The Food Lab: Vegan Nacho Sauce That's as Good as the Real Thing

When Only Wonder Will Do: The Best White Breads in NYC

Don't most white bread recipes call for small amounts of sugar? HFCS is cheaper than either cane or beet sugar. (I'm not even sure if HFCS is still particularly evil, any more than the vast amounts of sugars of all kinds that we find in so many foods now. But that's a rant for another time.)

Macadamia Nut "Ricotta" From 'Nom Nom Paleo'

I'm not fanatic about any "diet", but nut cheese? How does a paleo approach reject animal-sourced fats and proteins?

The Food Lab: Hearty Vegan Mushroom Bolognese

@AlohaJo72, read, read, read! "Primarily, it's a source of acidity, giving the sauce brightness and balancing out the richer flavors we're going to add later. It's also a good source of glutamates, the molecules responsible bolstering the savoriness of a dish."

From this, if alcohol is off the menu, I'd go with a splash of vinegar and/or citrus juice, plus a judiciously small dose of umami of your choice (soy/miso/etc).

/does not like my country's Puritan roots

The Food Lab: How to Make Creamy Vegetable Soups Without a Recipe

@Remander, yep, that's the stuff! I've used most of the flavors, and I liked them all. The ingredients list is a clue: the first ingredient in the beef base is beef, in the clam base it's clam meat, etc. It does have plenty of salt and some added glutamates, but so does canned broth.

The Food Lab: How to Make Creamy Vegetable Soups Without a Recipe

@Kenji, a broth question. Homemade can be great, store bought (chicken) is fine, and we know how we feel about "instant bouillon". But what is your opinion of jarred base pastes? There's one brand (I shan't name) that reconstitutes to, IMHO, as good as the best store bought. It's pretty much all I use anymore.

About those sponsored posts...

I'd like to make a couple comments about those sponsored posts that SE puts up every so often. Yes, I know the site has to bring in revenue, and I'm not here to talk about that. There are two changes I'd like to see.

First, I'd like to see the comment section left open. This is a community site, and the discussion below a post is at least as valuable, if not more so, than the post itself -- sometimes the number of comments is the only thing that gets me to click through to a post I might otherwise skip. This is equally true for sponsored posts. (Yes, I know SPs tend to draw criticism in the comments, which is why [I imagine] they're closed from the start, but c'mon! Let the mods do their job, kill off-topic comments, and ban commenters that do it habitually.)

Second, I keep seeing SPs floating near the top of the feed, even several days after they were posted, above newer content. Please stop doing that.

Pre-cooked bacon: Where's the fat gone?

Since being volunteered to help with my dad-in-law's new food trailer, I've been introduced firsthand to the phenomenon of pre-cooked bacon. It surely speeds the process of assembling BLTs and bacon cheeseburgers.

But there's one thing that bothers me: What happens to the drippings from that pre-cooked bacon?

When I cook bacon at home, the drippings are at least as important as the bacon itself, and I make sure to collect and preserve every last drop. It's my #1 preferred cooking fat for nearly everything.

Considering how widespread is the use of pre-cooked bacon in food service, the process of making the stuff must generate huge lakes of drippings each year. It's not being jarred and sold on grocery shelves, so where does it go?

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