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Scott569

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.

Poll: Beets on Pizza, Way or No Way?

I don't do plain beets much, but I love to snack on pickled beets. I could go for pickled beets on a pizza, coupled with black olives and sausage...a little sweet, salty, tart...yeah.

Meet the Serious Eats Magazine Vegetarian Issue!

Hey, has anyone mentioned us Android users yet? 'Cause, you know, not all of us groove on iTunes. Just in case you hadn't heard.

(FWIW: even when I'm mobile, I read the desktop site, as I don't care for the mobile version. Work that into your stats, SE.)

We Try New Mountain Dew Kickstart Black Cherry and Limeade

Pepsico's deep in the game, maybe not on top, but they're still raking in bags of cash by selling you sugar water.

Game Day Eats: 14 Hearty Chilis

Best home-style chili I ever made was a Yankee style with boneless pork ribs. Sure wish I could remember how I made it. At one point I had a recipe that was a dead ringer for Wolf brand canned (the best canned IMHO). Wrote it down, then lost it. <sigh>

Open Thread: What's Your Burger Breaking Point?

"A burger worth eating is worth eating plain." Toppings and sauces that try to compensate for poor meat or bread, that's my peeve.

Pizza Hut Announces Plans to Sell by the Slice

I heard there was a contest where 1st prize was a Pizza Hut slice. 2nd prize was a whole pie. <rimshot>

The Food Lab: Hasselback Potato Gratin (These Might be the Best Potatoes Ever)

@MelbaToastPoints, that "grease" is mostly butterfat, and pools of butter in my potatoes has never struck me as a bad thing. If it's the pooling rather than the fat you object to, I wonder if some mayonnaise or an egg yolk in the initial sauce would keep it under control.

Gift Guide: Essential Kitchen Tools Under $50

Gotta disagree on that "never go back to the old potato masher" bit. Call me a savage, but I actually like a little texture in my mashed, to show that it didn't come out of a box. Heck, last batch I made, I just mashed 'em up with my trusty wooden spoon. Nobody complained. But to each his own.

@Bill Woods, without getting into the grisly details of character encoding, the most reliable solution I've found for odd characters is to skip direct entry, and instead use HTML Entities. That's the Web standard for characters that normal humans can't easily type on a normal US keyboard. A search will turn up many entity charts to use, I like this one.

With entities, you're actually using HTML code to represent your characters (HTML is, BTW, also how I did the italics and live link above). So rather than a degree symbol, you'd type "&deg;", and you'd see "°". For a big-U umlaut, you type "&Uuml;" and see "Ü"; for the little-u umlaut, "&uuml;" gets you "ü". And so on. Check out the chart and try it.

@rolando74, you just need to resolve yourself to a little waste, and run some tests to find your mill's output. Mine puts out about ¼t per 16 turns (mind, output also depends on how tight the burr is set, and who's operating the device).

cooking potatoes before slow cooking?

As SE's token arm amputee, I should be qualified to help here, eh? :)

Depending on what kind of vegetable peeler you have, you may be able to put the potato on your work board, hold the peeler in just the last two knuckles of your fingers, then while stabilizing the potato with your thumb, peel it with the curling motion of your first knuckles. Or, you might put the peeler on the edge of your sink and trap it with another body part (knee, butt, etc) while you work the potato against the peeler.

Cutting the potatoes should be easy enough if you have a good-sized knife. Potato on the work board, tip of the knife on the board, cut with the handle end of the blade with a levering motion. If you lack hand strength, you should at least have a partially cut potato stuck to your blade. Complete the cut with a hammering motion.

A butternut is tougher. You might try sitting with a damp kitchen towel on your lap, then cradle the squash between your legs while you peel it. That might work for the potatoes, too.

Cutting the squash, hmm. Maybe use some rolled-up towels to keep it from wandering around the board while you begin your cut, and use that hammering action again. Maybe separate the seedless neck from the seeded body before trying to split the thing. To de-seed, again hold the thing in your lap while you scoop. Further cutting into chunks won't be much different than the potatoes.

Wishing you a speedy recovery, and please let me know if this was of any use to you. Good luck!

What Do You Drink When You're Sick?

Ginger soup for an upset belly (just simmer ginger slices in broth for a while).

Otherwise I stick to clear liquids like gin or vodka.

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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