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Why Don't Americans Eat More Chestnuts Year-Round?

BTW, its easy to find chestnut trees in the springtime. Travel around your neighborhood and try to find trees that smell very sweet. These are usually chestnut trees. They also have very interesting pollen "strings". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AmericanChestnutPollen.JPG

Or you could wait till the fall to look for the actual nuts and ask your neighbors if you can pick them.

If you live in the Buffalo area go to Chestnut Ridge park in Orchard Park, they have loads of chestnut trees.
http://www2.erie.gov/parks/index.php?q=chestnut-ridge

Why Don't Americans Eat More Chestnuts Year-Round?

I'm with kayrob, chestnuts are great!! I went picking chestnuts with my Dad every year when I was little. You had to learn the correct method to open the spike-y shells (put it between your two feet and pull them apart with your instep) but it was always worth it!

We usually just eat them as snacks all year long after roasting them and storing them in the freezer. My dad sometimes makes this great chestnut "butter". I think its really supposed to be more of a dessert paste but he doesn't put as much sugar in it as the recipes usually call for.

The main thing is to not burn them too much when you roast them otherwise their flavor is ruined.

Good online cooking / baking chocolate source you've used?

I like chocosphere too! I've used them and World Wide Chocolate (http://www.worldwidechocolate.com/) for my baking chocolate.

I think both of them are about the same in terms of prices and shipping. I think World Wide Chocolate has a better website and more non-baking chocolate variety while chocosphere has a better baking chocolate variety.

Got a Question for The Food Lab? Kenji Will Answer Everything

Kenji, sorry to add yet another question to the many but I have a question about vegetarian marshmallows (no gelatin) . I've tried to make them at home with agar agar powder but they were a massive failure and didn't set up.

How do you make marshmallows with agar? Thanks!!

Bake the Book: 'Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home'

Eating stracciatella gelato in my dad's home town in Bagnoli Irpino! Probably my favorite ice cream memory is eating frozen custard dipped in cherry shell at the fair when I was really little.

Soft Batch Cookie Crisis: to dye or not to dye. Please weigh in!

If the recipe calls for eggs you could use eggs from a local farm which *most* likely have more yellow-y yolks which would color the batter better than factory white eggs.

Or what would be easier would be to add a pinch of turmeric which would add a whole lot of yellow color and not much flavor.

Leftover bean water

I would like to add that you could probably use it for the water or milk in making bread. I have Peter Reinhart's whole grain bread book and there is a great potato bread recipe that uses potato and the water used to cook the potato. What you get is starchy water which is great for the bread.

With bean water you would get some starch and some protein so I bet that would make for some great hearty bread!

I usually use my bean water to make soup. I specifically like to make a really light soup for breakfast by watering it down slightly (if its super thick), adding some spinach and cracking an egg over the top.

Budget wedding reception food help!

@Sharona Zamboni, I think the family style dinner will definitely work!! Thats definitely what she's going for.

Thank you everyone for the tips! I will be sure to update on what we end up doing.

Budget wedding reception food help!

Thanks for all of the suggestions. Some of these really might work for us!

The venue has been picked out and it does have a small kitchen but they will only allow for re-warming of food in it (there's only 1 oven/range). There is also a patio that they do allow grills on and I think I recall that they have their own grills we could use.

As for food requirements, myself and another bridesmaid are vegetarian so we already know of those issues. The only thing I will insist on is no crappy pasta primavera/alfredo! The past few weddings I've been to have had this as their vegetarian entre.

From what I've seen in our area it looks like the main option is buffets which I know would be fine and I know of some good restaurants in our area that would be willing to assist with that. The only problem is that our Italian grandmother is going to never let us hear the end of it if we have a buffet. But maybe we can get away with it if the food is amazing.

I personally thought it would be fun to have a pig roast (yes, I know I wouldn't eat it but I know the bride and groom would love it). How does that work out usually?

Budget wedding reception food help!

@Debbymmmmm, the bride and groom had wanted to do that same thing! I think it is doable but we are planning on DIYing almost everything for it and I think thats too much work. Our parents are NOT interested in cooking the meal.

@onepercent99, thanks I forgot to put those down too! Its a hump day kind of day. We are looking at about 80 people, definitely no more than 100 but probably more than 50.

We haven't looked into service the food and warming it up, I guess I always had assumed that the caterer takes care of that, is that not normal? We were planning on a hot meal.

Budget wedding reception food help!

I forgot to add this, but for appetizers we were thinking of doing antipasti trays and maybe mini spinach pizzas. The drinks will be table wine and probably a keg or two and hopefully limoncello made by myself. And for the dessert we are doing various cupcakes and assorted Italian wedding cookies.

Where did the quizzes go?

Also agreed! They were probably one of the main reasons I signed up in the first place. Not that I don't like commenting on things but I think its a good way for people who are initially shy or don't want to comment on posts to be involved with Serious Eats.

Favorite Kitchen Appliance/Gadget

I agree with wadejay26 and tastefixation. Most tools are really quite useless (avocado slicers, etc) but some are really helpful.

Immersion blenders are great because you can do almost anything with them that you can with a regular blender but more easily. For example, pureeing soup in a blender is a GIANT pain in the you know where. Immersion blenders take care of that mess, blend in the pot you cook your soup in. The only thing they aren't good for are large amounts of slushy drinks (margaritas) which is just a lot of extra work.

I would also suggest an ice cream maker and/or a pasta machine if you want something you would not normally buy for yourself. The ice cream maker is definitely awesome if you love ice cream and can't find the exact flavor you want or don't like the weird chemicals in most brands. The pasta machine is a requirement in any Italian and Italian-american's house and fresh pasta is cheap but wayyyyy better than dried (don't even talk to me about frozen ravioli, etc, which are nasty by design).

I would say the best bet is go for the really nice pots and pans and knives though. These can be the most expensive tools so they are the perfect wedding gift!

Served: A Few Ways to be a Bad Restaurant Customer

I simply don't understand people who send things back for no reason at all, heck I even don't make much of a comment when I don't like something. I think that I do this because I feel guilty making a comment.

The one time I said something that I really wanted corrected it turned into this really awkward conversation with my server who couldn't understand what I was asking for. The salad I ordered had literally a drizzle of dressing on it (it was a full dinner salad with loads of lettuce and I'm 100% sure that it was under-dressed) which made me a little sad even though I normally think restaurant salads are way overdressed. The server thought I wanted the whole thing sent back and remade but I had just asked for some dressing on the side. I'm really glad I went to the effort to do it though, it was a really tasty meal!

I think in general, the people who make life hard for restaurant staff are the same people who make life hard for anyone who works in service industries. The kind of people at the grocery store who need all their groceries triple bagged with plastic on the outside: attention seekers or people who delight in being mean.

What is the best way to cook hotdogs?

@Adam from GrubGrade, Sahlen's are the best!! I haven't had them in forever because I don't get to visit my extended family that frequently (Lackawanna and West Seneca folks) anymore.

Cooking with flavored yogurt?

I've only used flavored yogurt for things like muffins. I think it is far too sweet to use for anything else even if you want say a lemon flavor for a coleslaw or something.

I suggest that you always have plain yogurt on hand and then if you want it sweetened but don't have any sweetened yogurt just mix in some jam/honey/agave. My old roommate used to mix in hot chocolate mix! That was surprisingly very good.

What is your favorite food gift?

Sounds like some of you have some really generous family and friends!

@Peggasus, I am really jealous that you get mole! I have let to try making it and I really love the stuff. Its hard to find good mole where I live.

@jakey, that is so sweet and so terribly sad. It is hard to let things go when it means so much more than just what the item is. Maybe you can cook them in honor of him on his next birthday?

@Twistie, I wish I could have been there to knock that girl out! Kids can be so terribly mean and twisted. I'm glad that you were able to move beyond that, it shows a real strength of character.

What to do with a gallon of Maple Syrup?

@Barbieri13, Food and wine does have an amazing maple baked bean recipe! I found it on their website and have made it twice with great success.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/maple-cider-baked-beans

Iced Coffee and Almond Sherbet

Thanks for the iced coffee recipes!

Iced Coffee and Almond Sherbet

This looks awesome! I really would like to make this, does anyone know of any good iced coffee recipes?

Theme Birthday Party Food

Calamari fried + chicken wings = cthulhu! ("He" does have wings you know)
I would also think about maybe serving with beer from the new england area since thats where HP Lovecraft set most of his work on cthulhu.

As for Camelot I'm not sure, the only thing I can think of that is really stereotypical medieval is a giant turkey leg. If you want you could have mead instead of typical beer which would be more like Camelot. I think something that might work but might be more obscure would be a cheese plate.

Sounds like an awesome party! I wish I could attend.

What do you do with the vegetables from making vegetable stock?

Thanks everyone! I feel like I can be absolved of any guilt I have about this now. I will definitely compost the vegetables.

@shoneyjoe, thats a great way to look at it. Thanks for the analogy.
@RossChristensen, so true! You're really "eating" them a second time if you use the compost for your vegetable garden.

Lemon Dessert Help

I have made one from a really old copy of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and was not let down, really great! (probably this recipe: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/bars/lemon-bars/)

But I also have one that I have been dying to try: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/02/whole-lemon-bars-recipe/

I haven't made it but they sound absolutely fabulous. I really like the idea of using the whole lemon.

Ideas for homemade nut butters?

I love making nut butters. The key thing is to not expect results like Jiff and the like from your food processor. Also, don't put in more nuts than the processor can handle (I have an 11 cup model which can do up to 2 cups of nuts). As for shelf life in the fridge it can last easily several months. You shouldn't store it at room temp because will go rancid faster than just plain nuts.

I've made a really awesome walnut butter (same method as plain peanut butter).

I have been thinking of trying a couple different things inspired by store bought brands and other recipes:

Peanut, cinnamon, and raisins
Spicy Thai peanut (add curry paste to regular peanut)
Peanut banana (I think this would have a low shelf life unfortunately)
Walnut and thyme or rosemary
Maple walnut

Your favorite chocolate ice cream brands???

Are you from Virginia? The best is homestead creamery double chocolate!! Just chocolate, no chunks (not that chunks are bad), best flavor ever. And its locally made with milk from happy cows.
http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2008/11/homestead-creamery/

Budget wedding reception food help!

Serious eaters,
My sister is getting married about a year from now (October 2012) and is planning on doing a budget wedding. We are planning on providing appetizers, drinks, and the desserts but will be getting a caterer for the main meal (evening, 5-6ish). I am just now looking at caterer prices for her and it seems like the only thing available are expensive mediocre food!

Is there a way to do a wedding dinner on a budget? We would prefer a sit down dinner but is that more expensive? There are no themes for food yet, but there definitely needs to be some creativity to it, not just the usual fare.

What is your favorite food gift?

The other day my Dad gave me a strand of braided garlic that he grew and dried and it nearly moved me to tears because I know how special his garlic is to him. Its so pretty I almost don't even want to use it but I'm sure it will be gone before I even know it.

This got me thinking, what makes giving food so special? Serious eaters, what was your favorite gift of food and why?

What do you do with the vegetables from making vegetable stock?

Serious Eaters!

I have a question that has been bugging me for a long time. What do you do with the vegetables you use to make vegetable stock (or I guess what do you do with the meat from meat based stocks)?

The recipes always say discard the vegetables which is very hard for me to do because you're throwing away food! The most recent time I made stock I froze the vegetables because I couldn't decide what to do with them at the time. Later I just ended up composting them to make some extra space in the freezer.

Do I just need to give in and toss the vegetables?

Runny yolk, way or no way?

For me its YES WAY! I have come to the realization after watching too much Anthony Bourdain that one of my favorite things is runny egg yolk oozing out over anything. I think it might actually be my favorite food.

Sorry if this topic has been discussed before as I am sure it has.

Where to eat in Frederick Maryland

Serious Eaters,

I am going to be staying in Frederick Maryland for a job interview and I have 1 night free so I would like to go somewhere for dinner. I don't know anything about the area so I need some advice on where to go that has more "local" fare. Can anyone tell me where I should eat? Thanks!

Are there "Authentic" lo mein recipes?

I am looking for a lo mein recipe that is somewhat "authentic" but I know that there is most likely no such thing as authentic lo mein (most likely Americanized). Does anyone know of a good recipe that might be similar to the Chinese take-out version? Or if possible something better?

I am assuming the sauce would have oyster sauce, soy sauce, shaoxing cooking wine, sesame oil, and probably garlic and ginger. Any other ideas?

I'm really trying to not sound ignorant here but I'm trying to make something that is familiar enough for my mother since she loves lo mein.

Thanks in advance!

Edible gifts for the holidays

Hey serious eaters, do you make any edible gifts for your friends in family over the holidays? As a full-time student with a limited budget this is something I always do (and because its loads of fun!). I also try to not do the same thing over again, last year I made panettone and chocolate covered fruit and nuts.

This year I'm planning on cookies for casual friends but I would like to do something a bit more special for my immediate family. Does anyone have any good ideas (other than cookies, I think I'm set there)?

Thanks!

Market Scene: La Boqueria in Barcelona

La Boqueria has to be one of the world's greatest markets. Located just off La Rambla, the busy pedestrian-friendly boulevard, it's a must-visit for any serious eater in Barcelona. The colorful, abundant aisles are packed with tourists and locals alike shopping for Jamón Iberico, fresh fruit, seafood, all sorts of animal parts (tongues, heads, and organs galore), eggs, fresh juices, nuts, cheese, and olives. More