• Location: Rochester, NY

The Food Lab's Complete Guide To Pan-Seared Steaks

If I use tallow in place of the oil, should I still add butter for basting?

Many thanks to Kenji

I'll second that! My turkey was beautiful and delicious and didn't take all day! My family was skeptical that we'd be eating on time, but it was perfect. And the gravy was the best I've ever had. Thanks again Kenji!

What's on your thanksgiving menu?

My condition on 'letting' my parents host this year was that they let me do all the cooking. I've had enough years of dry tasteless turkey, gluey potatoes, and stove-top stuffing. My dad is actually upset that I don't want to serve his frozen California blend vegetables, that he bought special for the occasion (seriously), at Thanksgiving dinner.

My menu:
Spatchcocked turkey with gravy
Ultra-fluffy mashed potatoes
Classic sage and sausage stuffing
Haricots verts with shallots and bacon
Butternut squash
Dinner rolls (only thing I'm not making since my brother works at a great bread bakery)
Pumpkin pie

Thanks Serious Eats for providing me with the recipes for most of my Thanksgiving dinner. If it's good enough for your table it's good enough for mine!

Glass cooktop

Thanks everyone! I am not too big on chemical cleaners, I usually use a spray bottle of white vinegar. I assume that will not hurt the glass cooktop and with the razor blade hopefully will do the trick. I do have a gas line there, which is why I'm baffled as to the current owner's decision not to utilize it. I'm looking even less forward to baking in the electric oven the cooktop is a part of. Luckily if my pans warp, they have a lifetime guarantee so I'm not too worried about that. I'm mostly hoping I can keep the glass intact long enough to be able to sell the thing on craigslist and get something I really want.

Memorial Day Grilling Giveaway: Win This Delicious Cap of Ribeye

Ribeye, potatoes, and sweet corn.

David Lebovitz's Guide to Paris Sweets

I now have the perfect excuse to return to Paris!

Pronouncing "macaron" (rant?)

I agree that it's not a food snob thing, it's a matter of differentiating between two different cookies. One which I love and one I hate. I speak very little French, but go out of my way to pronounce this correctly so that I don't end up with a coconut cookie, which I would not eat. I have a friend who speaks French and has visited the country many times and yet pronounces it incorrectly, it drives me crazy. I'm tempted to buy her some macaroons since she loves "them" so much.

Poll: Cornmeal on Pizza Crust, Way or No Way?

I've never had a pizza with cornmeal that I enjoyed so I have to say no. I'll accept that good pizzas with cornmeal might exist, but so might unicorns.

I say Kobocha, you say Kohlrabi

This post had me in the giggles at work. And as an added beneift I now have great suggestions for eating something I've never tried before.

NYC Pizza

@Tucra - I have 7 hours to wander JFK as I wait for an overseas flight so I'll seek it out, it can't be worse than most of the airport food I've had and if it's as good as you say it's at least better than most of the pizza I can get at home.

Thanks to evreyone for all the help. I wish you could all come join me as I eat my way through NYC!

I'm already planning two more NYC trips for this year since I know I won't be able to get to eveything this time :)

NYC Pizza

Thanks so much for your insight Adam, I've put Best Pizza on the "must do" list for this trip. As for the coal fired (or anything really), I'd be willing to order a pie if it's pizza worth eating. My hosts and their roomies would be more than glad to help me out with any leftovers.

Gingerbread House Hack: How to Make One with Graham Crackers

I used to Nanny and made these with the kids every year. One year I got the gingerbread flavored graham crackers, but they were a bit heavy on the spice for the kids. We always used various cereals rather than candy to keep the sugar factor in check. Golden grahams make great roofing shingles!

Has anyone ever made their own ricotta?

I used Kenji's microwave method when I had some milk to use up. I used the resulting ricotta on naan with prosciutto and caramelized onions broiled for a minute. I thought it was delicious!


I personally can't stand the boyscout popcorn. I only buy Orville Redenbacher. It always pops up nicely for me, and their simply salted flavor isn't too bad for you either. I don't even miss the butter.

Taste Test: Instant Mashed Potatoes

I served Idahoans at a family gathering once, not telling anyone, and not one person (out of 20!) noticed. This is when I decided to stop using my quality ingredients for them as I know they aren't really tasting the food anyway.

I'll eat the Idahoans at home maybe twice a year, and bring them camping.

Grocery Girl: What Your Grocery Store Says About You

I refuse to move anywhere without a Wegmans, seriously. I am very lucky to live near one of the biggest and best of the Wegmans and I can spend hours just roaming looking at all the lovely items even if I'm just buying my regular staples. I've been to Whole Foods and Trader Joes other places and they are fun as a tourist, but even if they came to town I would still shop at Wegmans. Some of my friends complain about the prices, but I feel that I generally get a good value. I'd rather pay a few cents more per pound for produce that is fresh and will last until I'm ready to use it. And I love that I can get local produce when it's in season. Also, the employees are consistently helpful and friendly which can go a long way in customer loyalty. For any of you who want to come visit I'd be happy to take you on a Wegmans tour :)

Spice Hunting: How to Do a Spice Audit and Reclaim Your Pantry

Has anyone used the magnetic style containers? I have very limited space in my apartment and putting up a magnetic rack for knives has been invaluable. I'm hoping I can do the same with my spices, maybe even just put them on the fridge? This would allow me to keep small amounts out and handy and keep the bulk in storage in a cooler darker place. I just want to be sure they deliver all I hope for before the investment.

Apple Beer Bread?

I decided to wing it and just use the whole bottle (12 oz) of cider and 1.5 cups of fresh chopped apples (Crispin), and it was fine, it actually seemed a bit drier going into the pan, but baked up fine.

That said, there are some changes I would make when doing this again. First, I'd use beer, not the hard cider. The flavor just didn't come through. I used 1 tsp of cinnamon, next time, I'll use a lot more. The bread was pretty bland. I'm also considering some bacon...

Cooking for peers @ work: Do you, and do they think you're nuts?

As a single person my co-workers are the only people I really get to cook for. They are actually quite upset that since I've started grad school I haven't brought anything into the office. Last year for Christmas I gave everyone hand decorated cut out cookies. The office has grown too much for that so I'm looking for something easier, but still tasty, for this year. I also have a request already for a May birthday, of banana cream pie, which I've never made before.

Your favorite bacon

Uncured, applewood smoked is my bacon of choice. I love to candy it with brown sugar and a long slow cook in the oven. Also using pepper bacon for this is good too, ups the savory to sweet ratio. I also make my green beans sauteed with bacon and shallots. I'm not sure there are too many bad ways to eat bacon.

So our Powerball is $245M. What would be your #1 food fantasy?

I would live in France and eat cheese

As long as I had enough invested to do that off the interest I would use the rest of it for clean drinking water throughout the world.

New Favorite Candy Bar: Mui-Bon Avellana

Bueno, as mentioned by @gnomatic, is the first thing I thought of when I saw this, it is my absolute favorite candy bar in the world. I eat them every day when in Europe, but ration them here in the states where they cost quite a bit more.

Storing Cheese at Home: Attention RobynB!

First I wrap in parchment, then in foil. I read somewhere (wish I knew where) once to use this technique and stay far away from plastic wrap, which actually lets air through. So as soon as I get home from the cheese shop I re-wrap all my cheese.

I Know Your Secret

I find this annoying too, but in another context. You know those fundraising cookbooks churches sell? Every member is supposed to submit their best recipe. Look through there and see how many are directly taken from a Pampered Chef cookbook. The use of Pillsbury crescent rolls is usually the dead give away. I inherited a bunch of these from a family member and am having trouble even giving them away!

Who Else Is Obsessive About Their Pantry? (This Obsessive?)

I am a spreadsheet junkie, everything, and I mean everything, about my life is in one, except my kitchen inventory. I started once but got distracted since it's such an undertaking. Now that I have this as a starting point I can't wait to get organized. It'll be especially helpful as I am going to Penzy's soon and will know exactly what I need. Thanks Kenji for doing most of the hard work for me!


I recently purchased some ground Fenugreek, mostly because it smelled so good. Other than curry what should I be doing with it? Any vegetables it might go well with?

Pork Shoulder Question

I'm planning to make a pretty decent sized braised pork shoulder this weekend for a party. The problem is, that as it is, it won't fit in my oval stockpot. Can I cut it in half to make it fit, or will it not turn out as good? How much space do I need to leave between the meat and sides of the pot?

I also haven't decided on a final recipe yet (although I'm leaning towards an apple cider/beer based one), so suggestions welcome!


Homemade Pumpkin Pie

I know if I search hard and long enough I'll find my answer, but I don't have the time, so I'm hoping you can all help save me from my lack of planning.

I'm making a pumpkin pie from scratch for the first time ever. I've already made my puree. I bought a kabocha and roasted it and pureed in the food processor. I was going to strain through a chinois, but it's really thick and I think that will take forever, and it already seems pretty smooth from the processor.

The question is, how do I choose a good pie recipe for using this puree? I've made the Cook's Illustrated before, but I would rather stay with all pumpkin this year since I went to the trouble of pureeing my own. I am also worried about adjusting for moisture, although, my puree does seem as thick as canned to me.

I'm open to any help/suggestions for turning this puree into deliciousness. I probably have about 4-5 cups so I may be able to expand beyond just pie.

Thank You!!!

Glass cooktop

I'm buying a new house and getting a glass cooktop with it. I'm pretty sure it's not induction. Until I can afford a gas replacement I'm stuck with it. So, what do I need to know? I've never had anything but gas. I'm terrified I'll bust it as I've never had to be careful before and I'm used to keeping my dutch oven on the stove at all times.

NYC Pizza

I'm sure I could scour the site for this answer, but I don't have that much time...

I'm going to be in NY for 2 days and my only goal is to eat all the (great) pizza I can. I'm looking for your best recommendations. I will be staying in Brooklyn (North part) and going into Manhattan for at least a couple of hours one day. Public transport is my only option.

I like large thin sloces. The most important component to me is the crust. If I don't like the crust, I won't care what's on top. I also want to make sure I eat at least one coal fired slice.

Already at the top of my list is Paulie Gee's, which is great b/c it's close to where I'm staying.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Apple Beer Bread?

I want to make a variation on beer bread using a hard cider and putting in a chopped apple. What I'm wondering is if I should make an adjustment to the liquid due to the apples and if so how much? Any suggestions?


I'm going to Boston next week (Oct 6-10 to be exact in case there's anything special happening) and I'm not sure what I should eat (and I guess other things to do too). I'm overwhelmed by the amount of choices and my limited time (& budget). I will be staying in Peabody and have a car to get anywhere worth going, but would probably drive to the subway, and get around that way. I can't do anything too expensive, so nothing like No. 9 Park, but I could swing a night at a place like Sportello. I'm game for simple things like food trucks and great diners too. I haven't been to Boston since I was a teenager so I need your help in planning my adult vacation!

Effectively searching "Talk"

When I have a question I'm sure has been discussed on SE in the Talk section, what is the best way to search and find it. If I just put my query inot the search SE box I don't get the discussions, but I don't see an obvious way to just search the threads. Thanks!

Cheddar Beer Sauce

I'm looking for a good recipe for a cheddar beer sauce for dipping soft pretzels in. All I can find is fondue recipes. I want something that will keep and reheat well. I'm thinking something more along the lines of a bechamel perhaps?


I got a great deal on Shiitakes at the market yesterday and am wondering how you all use them. I usually just fry them up crispy, sprinkle with sea salt and then eat them. But perhaps I could broaden my use of these delicious fungi.

Ravioli sauce ideas

I bought some really great homemade ravioli yesterday, and now I need ideas for saucing them. I have 3 kinds, mushroom (no cheese), roasted red pepper w/ ricotta, and broccoli w/ feta. I want to make sure that I am not overpowering the flavor of the pasta and fillings. Suggestions?