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Derby Cookies From 'Baked Occasions'

I made these today. I used walnuts, and I really appreciated the specifics on toasting them -- I am usually a "well, I guess they look and smell toasted now" baker. The cookies, though, were underwhelming. The dough has zero bourbon flavor. I would recommend adding more than the two tablespoons the recipe suggests to the butter.

The vanilla bourbon sugar is good, and it adds needed sweetness and bourbon flavor to the cookies, but even with this component the cookies are a bit blah. I was also underwhelmed by the texture of the cookies, so I added rolled oats and extra vanilla bourbon sugar to the other half of my dough before baking. They were still only OK. I would seek other other bourbon/whiskey cookie recipes before making this one again.

FWIW I used Johnnie Walker Red Label in the cookies, since that was the only thing I had in the house. Though this isn't technically a bourbon, I doubt it was the issue in the recipe.

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf "Cupcakes"

Could the gelatin be skipped? It's not something that I buy or know how to work with.

Crispy Creamy Fennel Gratin

Love this. Adds so much complexity to a typical gratin recipe, not to mention a great way to add vegetables to a meal. I used shredded parmesan instead of the grated pecorino, which added to the texture of the crust. Yum.

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

Cast iron skillet, as hot as it goes. Butter. Salt and pepper, ground thick. Medium rare.

Win Pop Chart Lab's 'The Various Varieties of Fruits'

Wow! OK, I'll bite. My favorite "vegetable" is avocado.

Where in New York can I buy dried fruits and nuts for cheap?

Another vote for Kalustyan's. It's pricier than I want to spend on some items, but they have everything! I've never seen so many types of dates in one place before. For basic nuts, like cashews and almonds, I honestly haven't found a better deal than Trader Joe's.

We Eat Everything at Piroshky Piroshky in Seattle, Part I: Savory

We stopped here on our way to Beecher's Cheese when we were in Seattle over the summer. Yum! Very authentically Slavic -- brought me back to when I briefly lived in St. Petersburg.

French Laundry - Who's Been? Was it Worth it?

I went with three friends this summer. It was a once in a lifetime trip for us (although afterward we all thought, "Need to save up again and go in ten years!"). We did not order wine (most of us don't drink) so I can't speak to that, but it was, hands down, the best meal I have ever had. Our server was incredibly knowledgeable and walked us through each dish, which for me (a foodie and a person who loves to cook) and my friends (serious foodies) was just a delight. Everything was amazing. Everything. The bread was amazing, even. I tried things I had never tasted before and things I knew well in new presentations/techniques. Another cool thing -- we were so interested in the food and preparations that at the end of the meal, we got to take a peek in the kitchen. So neat!

All four of us agreed that it was worth it. We have every intention of saving up and going again in ten years or so. Worth it, if you really appreciate great food presented in fresh, unique ways.

FYI, it is SO HARD to get a reservation. It took us tons of tries, and we ended up scheduling our trip around when we could get the reservation.

Win Two Tickets to Plate by Plate, October 4th

Spot Dessert Bar is the only one I've tried, but I have nearly all the others on my list...

Jim Lahey's Favorite Hell's Kitchen Eats

Wow. This was depressing. I'm really, really sad for Jim Lahey. He seems to live a sad life.

What Regional Sandwiches Do You Wish You Could Find in New York?

I wish I could find a good muffaletta. Sometimes I'll make my own, right down to homemade olive spread, but it isn't the same.

Considering the Lobsterman: How Maine Lobstering Works

Great pictures. This is a way of life utterly foreign to me.

If lobster hauls are now at record highs and prices paid to fisherman have declined, why have I not seen a similar price decline in my local (NY) fish markets and grocery stores? I read some months ago about the record lobster hauls and hoped that I'd soon be eating more lobster as prices dropped. But by me, there have been no reduced prices -- and therefore no increase in my personal demand. Where is the connection being severed?

Win Two Tickets to the Great Steak Debate, September 15th

Luger's, although I have been impressed on multiple occasions by the porterhouses at the Willet House in Westchester.

Where do you get good Mexican food in Manhattan?


Sadly for this Arizona transplant, that seems to be the case. The only places I've thought were good were the Mexican cart at 28th and 7th (tacos and tortas) and the Taco Bite Truck (burritos, tacos, and quesadillas with great salsas -- it moves around, but I've eaten there a handful of times when it's at 38th and Broadway).

I haven't found a good chile relleno anywhere, so I'm eager to see if others in this thread have...

Georgian Pomegranate Sausage, Cheese Bread, Eggplant with Walnuts at Mtskheta Cafe in Bath Beach

@megawong: Best bet is probably Brighton Beach. There are a number of Georgian restaurants there.

Anyone know of a good recipe for Rice, Tapioca or Bread pudding?

I make Indian rice pudding (Kheer) in my crock pot. Not only is it vegetarian, it's vegan -- made with coconut milk. (We've also done a mix of coconut and almond milks, so I think you can sub in any kind of milk you like, although the coconut flavor is what makes it authentic.) Some recipes call for cardamom, but I prefer cinnamon and nutmeg. You can play around with the flavors you like.

The ratio I use is 4 cups coconut milk, 1 cup basmati rice, and 1/2 cup sugar. Some recipes include butter or oil, but I skipped that after the first time and don't notice a difference. This cooks faster than you'd think, so keep an eye on it; usually it's done within 2 hours.


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