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In Praise of a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving

I agree with the overall message: association of a certain food with a certain holidays are often arbitrary, and its just better to splurge on whatever tastes good. I also love the idea of peking duck for Thanksgiving.
However, even though I don't celebrate Thanksgiving (nothing political, just didn't grow up with the culture) I eat turkey every year. The reason is that it's dirt cheap this time of the year. Sometimes the cost alone can be a reason, especially if you're feeding a large crowd.

Forget Mac 'n' Cheese. Say Hello to Creamy, Cheesy Baked Risotto

I think you inadvertently reinvented the Japanese-Italian dish "doria," which is a pretty amazing feat.

How to Make Japanese-Style Chicken Meatball Skewers With Sweet Soy Glaze (Tsukune)

I agree with both Kenji and uhwut. Tare is usually a simple mixture of mirin and soy sauce, but in yakitori places they repeatedly dunk the chicken in the tare, which some people argue lends some depth into their flavor. I'm guessing David Chang's method is supposed to emulate a tare that has been used for an extended time. This video shows the process, the tare flavor section starts at the four minute mark or so: http://youtu.be/9voZ9Ew9Hhc .
I save the tare I used for yakitori and Japanese char siu, keeping it in the fridge and topping it off whenever it starts to run out.

Anyway, that tsukune looks amazing, I can't tell you how many times I've decided on my dinner looking at this grilling column.

Turn Your Pasta Into Ramen With Baking Soda

I've been doing this for a while: (http://3minramen.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/abura-soba-japanese-oily-noodles/), and here are some things I found out:

Rinsing does help, but the main problem is that the rinsed noodles lower the soup temperature drastically. The best way to remedy this is to fill your ramen bowls with hot water ahead of time, and dunk in the noodles in the bowls after rinsing. Dump the water, pour on the soup, and you have hot, rinsed noodles.

I think this tip method is most benefitial when used for yakisoba, or any other stir-fried nodle dish. The heavy flavorings masks the baking soda flavor, and frying the noodles hides the residual spaghetti-ness of the pasta.

I agree about the angel hair, but I would say that boiling dried somen noodles in baking soda water makes for an even better accompaniment to Hakata style tonkotsu soup.

Crispy Baked Pasta with Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce

Made this today with a 11 1/2 inch skillet. This method of broiling for a short period (as opposed to baking for a while) is great! One of the very few baked pasta dishes where the pasta retained any kind of texture. I didn't have sausage on hand, so I subbed it with heavily seasoned chicken thighs. I took off the skin on the thigh, rendered all the fat out of it, and chopped up the crisp skin and mixed it into the breadcrumb mixture. It made for an intensely chicken-y and crisp topping.

How to Make The Best Chicken Stock

I've been wondering if there's specific types of chickens that are suited for making broth: I've been using "stewing chicken" (I think they are aged hens) that I find dirt cheap in the supermarket nearby, which produces very good stock and lets you use chickens that are otherwise very hard to eat. Also, the partially dark chickens that they have at the Chinese market seems to be used for making stock. I wonder if anybody has experience with those.

The Food Lab's Emergency Cooking Kit: How to Fit All the Tools You Need in One Small Box

Definitely with Porgy_Sashimi on the Chinese vegetable knife, those things have endless uses. In the same vein, I always carry around a two-handle wok (takes up less space) on my moves, since it can saute, fry, stew, braise, steam, or anything else you want it to. You can place it upside-down on the cardboard box, like a little hat.

Manner Matters: A Spicy Food Lover's Conundrum

I'm with Teachertalk, if I'm going to eat good, spicy food, I want to be able to eat without worrying if I'm being rude or looking disgusting, so being careful about who you eat it with is essential.

By the way, I find it appalling that people routinely read columns and articles to piss on it. I like serious discussions of minuscule or insignificant issues, especially when it's done in Molly's ambivalent serious/humorous tone. I want more barrel scraps, I want more explanations of weird table manner subcultures and nit-picking of eating habits. I want to know the psychological dynamics of communal seating and the ethics of helping yourself to a drumstick at a chicken dinner. And I don't want to do that with somebody who comes from a region known for their superior table manner skills. I'm fine with Minnesota.

Mul Naengmyun: The Cold Korean Noodle Soup Perfect for Summer

Wonderful. Now all I have to do is run out for some mustard oil.
About the radishes: I think I was able to replicate the pickled radishes pretty accurately by dumping Kenji's basic pickling solution (for pickled red onion or banana peppers) on top of sliced daikon radishes.

5 Rules of Hong Kong Dining That You Should Know Before You Go

Thank you, but this came a bit late! Wish I knew about the napkin thing before I got charged for tissues at a bbq place.

12 Beer-Producing Countries to Watch Right Now

After a 1 month trip in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Beijing, I found that aside from the Belgian abbey beers that have a established hold on the market, beers from Italy and New Zealand offered the hoppy styles that I most often associate with US craft beer. While these beers may not be big in the US, they are a major competitors to US craft beer in other countries. Don't know about you, but any beer challenging US's claim to hegemony of the craft beer market arouses my interest.
That being said, any barley based fermented drink arouses my interest. I would drink any beer given the chance.

Coffee Science: How to Make the Best French Press Coffee at Home

@BrologneseSauce I do about six on my glass hario grinder, but my brewing time is significantly shorter than the one listed here (5, rather than 6-8). You get a lot of fines, but you also get a very rich and satisfying brew. I love fine-tuning my brew with the Hario, one click at a time.

Manner Matters: Help, My Friend Chews With Her Mouth Open

As an Asian, this fear of offending due to cultural reasons is strangely entertaining. In case you're afraid of offending, just make sure you don't make this an opportunity for "education" (for example, saying "do you know in America..." rather than just saying "dude, you're chewing with your mouth open). The "education" tone too often falls into the trap of the West educating the Rest stereotype. But also, never, ever criticize me for slurping ramen noodles. You might as well tell me to eat it with a fork.

Manner Matters: How to Share Food Without Being Rude

You won't think it's nonsense when your chicken-wing eating friend takes a sip out of your beer, leaving a film of grease at the edge of your glass (with skid marks left by his beard).

Cook the Book: 'Simple Thai Food' by Leela Punyaratabandhu

Leela's Tom Yum recipe has been my favorite for a while.

Does Seasoning in Stages Make a Difference?

Thanks, I was actually curious about the opposite (a lot of recipes call for salting at the end, but can I salt as I go so the ingredients will not taste too bland). I love these articles that have a wide potential for application. Great stuff.

What's the Best Way to Brew Iced Coffee?

I always figured that Aeropress over ice is the most logical method. However, considering how low the immersion over ice method ranked, I probably should do a side-by-side with a pour-over.

Where to eat at Ohio University in Athens (bobcatsteph?)

Miller's Chicken serves some really good, down-to-earth fried chicken. I recommend the gizzards and hearts doused in Frank's red hot. O'Bettys has good hot dogs and homemade fries that are great if you aren't all about crispness. Avalanche Pizza has a lot of fans, and it's pretty good for local take-out pizza. If I can go back right now, I would go to Casa to drink some Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald porter and Dortmunder Gold lager on draught.

Knife Skills: How to Debone a Chicken Thigh

@Shayrose In my case, I use up both the extra bone and skin. I save the bones in the freezer, and once every months or so, I make a really rich ramen soup out of it. The skins I also freeze in a ziploc bag, which I throw on the frying pan so I can get some chicken oil out of it for stir fries. Sometimes I use the oil from the skins for the flavored oil for ramen. I think the stuff you can make with the bones and the trimmings makes it worth it to buy the bone-in, skin-on thighs.

Poll: How Does the New 'American-Style Pizza-Burger' from Freshness Burger Make You Feel?

The absurd products at Freshness Burger are sometimes surprisingly good. I think the confusion comes from the fact that this item was conceived by a member of a pop group who is (not to my knowledge) not an expert on either America, food, burgers or pizza. So the American style pizza burger is an equivalent to the end product of asking Justin Bieber to come up with a new sushi roll.

Homebrewing: American Pale Ale (For Beginners)

This is probably coming really late (considering when this recipe was first posted). I've been reading this column even before I started homebrewing, so naturally, this was the first beer I made. Turned out amazing. Came out with some sweet caramel taste, which I blame on myself for probably not stirring the wort enough at the beginning of the boil. Hops aroma was definitely there, but next time I think I will increase the late addition or dry hop to accentuate the taste. Great recipe, great column, and I hope there'll be more articles on the way. It's been a while since the last one, and I really look forward to this column.

Food-related deal breakers when dating?

After reading AnnieNT's comment, I decided I want to be a better person, so I'm going to adhere to that philosophy.

Food-related deal breakers when dating?

Totally agree with both of you. I would add people who have adverse reactions (not allergies or serious health related issues) to large, sweeping categories of food, like mushrooms, seafood, green vegetables, etc. I also cannot stand food snobbery. I understand you may be into food/beer/cocktails, but that doesn't mean you cannot admit to enjoying the occasional Popeye's chicken, greasy Chinese buffet food, fizzy yellow beer in the summer, or a sloppily made yet strangely good mai tai. I know I'm getting into the realm of being a dick here, but I also get irritated when I see people who leave a lot of food on their plate and let it go to waste. Eat it, take it home, or better yet, feed them to me.

Asian Vegetables in Non-Asian Dishes

In Asian language cookbooks and cooking websites, you find a lot of Asian vegetables incorporated into western style dishes. I think the rule of thumb is to try to employ the method of cooking that are conventionally used for that vegetable. For example, with daikon, you can throw that into some consommé for a soup (similar to stewing it in clear dashi) or julienne it and make it into some daikon slaw. In Okinawa, bitter melon is often sautéed with Spam, so it pairs up wonderfully with cured and salted meats. I've also seen creamed bok choy, but I wouldn't vouch for it.
And there's the golden rule: everything tastes better when deep-fried.

Tea taste test/brand preferences?

America's Test Kitchen did a taste test a while ago (I think it's in their 2007 or 2008 recipe book) so you can check that out for reference. But an updated and more comprehensive taste test will still be great.

Best coffee on a budget

Due to financial constraints, I'm thinking about starting to buy two kinds of beans; a good one for sipping out of a mug at home, and a cheap one for sipping out of a thermos on the road.

I always relied on Cafe Bustello when money's tight, but I was wondering if there's anything better out there.

What's your favorite budget coffee?

KC BBQ recommendations?

I'm planning to go for a full-day, morning, lunch, and dinner BBQ excursion to Kansas City with my friends.

Do you have any recommendations for good KC BBQ that's on-par or better with the big names?
Or do you have any good places to refresh the palette (somewhere with good milk shakes, homemade root beer, floats, beer, etc)?

Or if you have any advice/warnings for an indulgent trip like this, please let me know!

Right now we have on the list:
Jack Stack
Arthur Bryant's
Gates
Oklahoma Joe's
Danny Edwards
LC's BBQ
and
RJ's BBQ.

Thanks!

Dinner Tonight: Star Anise and Ginger Chicken

It's hard to imagine this recipe could be anything but delicious upon reading the ingredient list. Ginger, garlic, honey, soy sauce, scallions—each one is delicious on its own, and they blend together beautifully in this recipe from Home Cooked Comforts via Leite's Culinaria. The addition of star anise, with its subtle licorice influence, gives the dish that special something to set it apart. More