Win a Copy of 'Downtown Italian'

It's lame, but I have to say pizza.

Win a Copy of 'A Boat, a Whale, & a Walrus'

Make your own pizza

Win a Copy of 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

My mom's beef stew

Win a Copy of 'The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook'

Win a Copy of 'Salad Samurai'

Caprese, but with peaches instead of tomatoes.

Win a Copy of 'Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food'

Win a Copy of 'The Meat Hook Meat Book'

Skirt steak. I always expect it will end up with the consistency of rubber.

Win a Copy of 'Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen'

Bake the Book: Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts

Chocolate cake.

Bake the Book: Teeny's Tour of Pies

Rhubarb custard

Cook the Book: 'Afro-Vegan' by Bryant Terry

Bibeleskaes is the only food I know from my heritage, really. And I only _just now_ learned how to spell it.

Bake the Book: Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn's Favorite Ice Cream Shop

Spearmint chocolate chip.

Cook the Book: 'Yucatán' by David Sterling

Cook the Book: 'Joy of Kosher' by Jamie Geller

My kosher experience consists almost exclusively in grocery clearance sales after holidays.

Cook the Book: 'The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone' by Deborah Madison

Bake the Book: Frenchie

Pain au chocolat

Cook the Book: Lonely Planet's 'The World's Best Spicy Food'

Laab in a little shop on Silom road.

Bake the Book: First Prize Pies

Apple pie, I guess? I think they're more difficult than others to make; I've had (and made!) some gluey and/or undercooked apple pies that weren't so good.

Cook the Book: 'Kitchen Confidence' by Kelsey Nixon

This is kind of a weird answer, but I've got to say my dad's recipe for tossed salad. It's easy and flexible enough to adjust to any meal.

Cook the Book: 'Down South' by Donald Link

Gumbo if that counts. If not, I'll say boiled peanuts?

Bake the Book: The Model Bakery Cookbook

I can manage tasty cookies, pies, and cupcakes. So I guess I'd start there. Making them not quite so ugly will be a challenge though.

Cook the Book: 'Spain' by Jeff Koehler

I can't say that I've had a lot of Spanish food, but I do remember really liking Spanish chorizo when I tried it.

Bake the Book: The Irish Pantry

We're pantry hoarders, so just about everything nonperishable that we might use is in there. If I have to say one thing, I'll say flour; there are about five kinds of it in there.

Cook the Book: The 'Roberta's' Cookbook

I guess the biggest creative leap for me was pumpernickel chocolate chip cookies.

The Best Valentine's Day Giveaway Ever: Lobel's 4" Prime Dry-Aged Heart Shaped Steaks for Two

Roasted at low heat for a few hours, then finished in a hot frying pan.

Sliced Mushroom RAGE!

Is it just me, or do the packages of sliced mushrooms in grocery stores anger others too?

Here's the scenario: you pick up a package of sliced mushrooms, with the assumption that said mushrooms are pre-washed. I mean, if they're not washed, the process of slicing them will have spread whatever filth is on them so thoroughly as to make them unwashable, right? And you can't wash mushroom slices anyway: they'd crumble into (still-kinda-filthy) confetti. But you read the entire label, just to make sure that it doesn't say the mushrooms require washing; and it doesn't say that anywhere on the label.

Then, when you get the cursed mushrooms home, and open the package, ON THE INSIDE there's another label indicating that the mushrooms need to be washed. Are you kidding?

How to make chocolate freeze softer?

Hi all,

I just got an ice cream maker, and really want to make something with chocolate chips in it. But rock-hard chocolate in ice cream is always kind of disappointing; does anyone know of something I could add to chocolate to make it softer when it's frozen? Like, would a ganache freeze softer than regular chocolate? And would untempered chocolate freeze softer than tempered?

Do spices really degrade in light?

The herb & spice section of my cupboard is crazy crowded, and putting a spice rack on my wall would really help out on the spice-finding front. But I've always heard that it's best to store your herbs & spices in a dark place, so I've been hesitant to take them from the dark cupboard and put them on a shelf on the wall, where they'll be more exposed.

Does anyone here know how much herbs and spices really degrade in light? And whether the type of light makes a big difference (energy-saving fluorescent vs. sun)? And whether there are some spices that can handle it better?

Refrigerating tomatoes: is that so wrong?

So I was eating lunch today at what had seemed to be a pretty nice restaurant. The salad was kind of bad, but in a vague way that I couldn't piece together until after getting back to work: the tomatoes, while looking great, were pretty mushy and didn't taste like much of anything. They were also really cold.

Now, I remember from my trusty Field Guide to Produce that refrigerating tomatoes is frowned on, but do any of you know why, exactly? Does it really cause the kind of mushy blandness in that salad, or was that a coincidence? I'm concerned now about the groceries I bring home; I should probably be more careful about what goes in the fridge, and what goes on the counter. Because I know I've just blithely thrown tomatoes in my refrigerator along with everything else.

Gumbo sausage in Chicago?

So I'm going to make gumbo this weekend, and was wondering if anyone had recommendations for where to find sausage for such a thing--spicy, and not too sweet. Once upon a time, Dave Duerson hot links were the perfect thing, and easy to find anywhere, but they don't seem to exist anymore. And the andouille stocked by Treasure Island and Whole Foods just doesn't work well at all--it ends up really tough, so I'm guessing it's just not fatty enough to stand up to long simmering.

I'm thinking Paulina Market; any other suggestions?

Food For Thought: Xiao Long Bao and Authenticity in Food

When considering foods eaten out of context—that is, foods eaten in a country or region that they do not originate from—the question of authenticity and what it means to be "authentic" is always a vexing one. Take, for example, Xiao Long Bao—the soup-filled dumplings hailing from Shanghai that have since been popularized throughout the world. Even referring to them as "dumplings" is enough to set off some food scholars who insist that they are distinct from what we traditionally classify as dumplings. The question is, what does it mean to be authentic and more precisely, is it even possible for authenticity to be preserved across the many barriers of language mapping, social custom, and regional tastes? More