I love food, life, learning, travel and reading. I have and will again plan trips around food as well as historic sights.

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  • Location: Calgary
  • Favorite foods: Cannot begin to fathom picking favorites. But I do love pickles!
  • Last bite on earth: Depends on my mood and hunger level.

3 Ways to Brew Better Coffee at Home for Under $75

My solution was to buy a 30.00 Aeropress. Seems to work.

If you could have one cooking item...

I've had a few gadget fantasies fulfilled, but I remain longing for a Vitamix blender, thermapen, and a pressure cooker/canner.

quinoa prep?

I also don't rise, and cook like rice. After it's cooked, try it drizzled with a bit of soy sauce, ponzu sauce, hot chili oil, and a hint of sesame oil. It's like a bowl of comfort food. Quinoa can stand up to strong flavors.

What should I do with all of these lovely strawberries?

This tart is far greater than the sum of its parts. Please even make a mini one just to try it.

Punishable proceedures

Canned peas. Look like blah, taste like vomit.

Do you have food allergies?

@korovka - I'm just like you - as a kid I was allergic to everything - milk, strawberries, actually all berries, etc. and outgrew them all by ten or so.


I too have a glut of recipes. But some standouts are - coq au vin and choucroute garnie from Jeffrey Steingarden, brisket from Ruhlman, raspberry buttermilk cake from smitten kitchen, gumbo, and any burger from Kenji.

Having said that, I have crossed off many items from bucket list too - world's best chili from Kenji, most of the breads from Reinhart, this amazing beef daube from a Russian site, the best homemade pickles ever, homemade ricotta, etc etc.

Kenji's Recipes

And carnitas, can't forget the carnitas. We riff on those all the time.

Kenji's Recipes

I've made the world's best chili a few times, but there are tons of recipes I haven't tried yet.

Video: Making of a Sacher Torte

Wow. Gorgeous and inspiring.

Do I need pickle rehab?

I have pickles listed as a fave in my very profile. I have been known to drink brine from pickle jars. I live on sauerkraut, pickles, olives, etc. I am very happy with my homemade pickles, but alas they are not done in any manner deemed 'safe' by current standards. (They are made via an old Ukranian recipe that leaves them part pickled part fermented. Not what the canning guidelines recommend.) On bad days I've been known to sip apple cider vinegar seasoned with a bit of salt, for consolation. Your dinner sounds lovely to me.

Do You Wish Your Vodka Had More Flavor?

Vodka is best with no flavor, as it can be a textural beverage. Try chilling a quality 'tasteless' vodka until it's syrupy and thick, and serve with small dishes of strongly flavored foods as it would be in Russia or Finland or any northern country. The thick, cold liquid is intended to spread an internal heat through the body, and the neutral flavor goes with everything. For best results try it after a day of skiing or shoveling snow, followed by a hot shower. It will all be clear then.

What's your mushroom of choice?

I too haven't met a mushroom I don't love, but if I had to pick one on pain of death or something, it would be fresh porcinis.

Your last meal

Mine would be a day of eating all the stuff I haven't really tried yet. Basically, I'd scroll through my favorite blogs and serious eats reviews, pick a ginormous compilation of the best of the best (from dumplings to burgers to noodles to whatever), and basically gorge like a foie gras goose all day long.

Duck Fat Recipes

Seconding potatoes roasted in duck fat, sprinkled with smoked paprika. Add a spoonful to any greens, any sauteed veggies too.

Espro Press: For Better Tasting French Press Coffee

I love my Aeropress with a loving love, and can't bring myself to try anything else, especially more expensive.

Food for Change: 5 Groups Doing Great Work

Isn't Seattle also starting an edible park too? That sounds like an idea every city should have.

Quinoa - The super food

I love quinoa too! Try it cooked and drizzled with soy sauce, ponzu sauce, chili garlic oil and sliced avocado (and/or nori strips). I came across a similar recipe on a blog and fell in love.

The Nasty Bits: Octopus

What Kenji said. I'll eat lots, but there seems to be a cruelty component there that strikes me as odd. Like the live eel dishes that I could never eat.

Get To Know Us: Sarah Buchanan, Serious Eats Intern

I drink pickle juice from jars too :)

Buckwheat (NOT the weird kid from Little Rascals...)

Many foods in Russia are that simple, but many are not wonderful to a western palate. There are a few recipes that cross over well, but many dishes are incomprehensible to outsiders (i.e. salted herring salad, kvass, etc). Do try the buckwheat though, that recipe should be pretty good, especially with plenty of butter. :)

Buckwheat (NOT the weird kid from Little Rascals...)

I was born in Russia and grew up eating buckwheat weekly. Here is a quintessential recipe for a buckwheat side dish. Cook roasted buckwheat only, it should be a dark brown color. Unroasted it will be gluey and flavorless.

Cook it like stovetop rice - about 1.5 times water to grain ratio, with a good tsp + of salt. Once it's done, add a good dollop of butter (at least 3tbsp, you can't use too much), cover the pot with a towel and let it steam for ten-fifteen minutes. The steam fluffs the grains.

While buckwheat is resting, caramelize a couple of onions over high heat in butter. You can also sautee mushrooms and onions together. You're gong for bold flavors and dark colors here. Serve on top of buckwheat or add sour cream off the heat for a gravy.

This would be an amazing side dish with meatloaf and such. It's also good with a bit of soy sauce and chili oil, although this is very un-traditional.

Joe Alternatives: A Cup of Hot Brown, Hold the Coffee

I was reading a memoir of a pioneer woman settling Canada in the 1800's. She recalls hearing that fall harvested dandelion roots make a good coffee substitute, so she dug up a bunch, cut them up into bean sized pieces, roasted them, and made a fine cup of coffee. She described the flavor as better than the cheap coffee beans available to them at the time. I have yet to repeat this experience, but kind of want to.

My Thai: Creamy Tom Yam Kung

I have come across your blog, and quite liked it. I'll be making this soup for sure, and welcome to SE!

The Vegan Experience Days 14, 15, and 16: The Wife Effect

I think to counter this experiment, Kenji should do an Atkins diet down the road. Research shows it's ever better at lowering cholesterol and improving triglycerides.

Three times's the charm!

In line with all the recent threads on trying and loving new foods, which food took you a few persistent tries to like?

My most prominent example is sushi. The first time I was not overcharmed. The idea of raw fish, the soft melting texture, the light fishy smell in the restaurant contributed to an experience that left me slightly queasy. Second time was the same and I was ready to decide sushi is not for me.

The third time, a friend had some uber fresh sashimi flown in from the coast. I was very hungry, the fish was incredible and my sushi barriers crashed down forever. There have been more triumphs over the years too, and I only have a few lone aversions left, like canned peas which taste like vomit to me...

Appliance attrition

When I first started cooking, I really felt deprived without items such as a food processor, blender, mixer, thermometer, fill in the blank. As I moved out and set up house, I slowly acquired many of these items, and oddly enough the more time goes by, the less often I use them. For some reason cleaning the appliance seems harder/slower than doing it by hand.

Now I'm down to a totally minimalist approach of a knife and a skillet. Now, the blender we use for smoothies, but I was baking bread on the weekend and instead of pulling out the mixer I just thought of it as exercise and kneaded by hand. I think once the appliances have 'emotionally depreciated' I may pass them on to a new home. Anyone else found anything similar? I feel like the odd one out most of the time as people talk about how they can't live without (fill in the blank).

Dear SE, the new ads are extremely annoying


I've been perusing your site this morning plagued by the ridiculous Dove ads peeking out on every. single. page. No mattter how many times I click close, there it is ready to pop out on the next page. This is seriously detracting from my enjoyment of the site. Yeah, maybe if it came up once and never again it'd be okay, but I'm not dealing with it every two seconds.


Incompatible flavors

Are there any flavors that just don't mix in your head despite the fact that they're commonly enjoyed? For me that unholy mix is vinegar and sugar. I shudder at the thought of sweet pickles, mustard pickles (with sugar), or pickled watermelon. Pickles to me are dill and garlic, mustard is salty and hot, and watermelon rocks on a summer day - out of hand.

How 'bout them portions?

I seem to be constitutionally incapable of cooking for less than 4 people. My SO and I live alone, and always cook too much food. Not that it's a bad thing, leftovers get frozen or eaten the next day, but it's funny how we both come from a family of 4 and we're both pre-set to cook for 4 +. Do you have a set number of servings that you seem wired for?

The Food Lab: The Best Wonton Soup

My favorite version of wonton soup—the version that's good enough to eat like a meal and not just an MSG headache-inducing appetizer, is the rich, shrimp and pork version served in Hong Kong. The broth, a far cry from the salty, one-dimensional versions I had as a kid, is made with chicken and pork, with a rich body and a faint aroma of the sea. The wontons are stuffed fuller than most, folded into little round parcels, filled with juicy pork and shrimp pop out as you bite through the thin, thin skins; the shrimp crunching under your teeth as you chew. More

In a Pickle: Planning for Pickle Season

If you're planning tackling a few pickling recipes this summer for your pantry shelves, it's a good idea to do a little bit of planning now. A little strategic thinking means that you won't find yourself up to your elbows in hot pepper and then realize you're out of jars, lids or the necessary vinegar. More

S. H. Fernando Jr.'s Spicy Lentil Fritters

S.H. Fernando Jr., author of Rice & Curry, calls these Spicy Lentil Fritters an Asian take on falafel, and that's a spot-on call. Subbing out chickpeas for yellow split peas makes for fritters with a great bite and the chiles, onion, curry leaves, ginger, and fennel seeds give these guys beguiling flavor, one that will have you snacking on these little fritters until every last one is gone. More

The Nasty Bits: Pork Cheeks

Just about any stewing or braising preparation would suit pork cheeks. A pork cheek is not an irregularly shaped cut like trotter or a hock, nor does it have too much fat to be rendered or dealt with in some way, such as pork belly. A pork cheek is just a perfect round of flesh and collagen, and so conveniently sized that you don't even have to cut it up before adding it to the pot. More

Wake and Bake: Dutch Baby

I like to think of these as a popover-crepe hybrid. You pour a simple, eggy batter into a wide skillet, pop it in the oven, and 20 minutes later you have a puffed, bowl-shaped pancake that's just waiting to be topped with sugar. Some people eat dutch babies with lemon, and sure, I won't stop you. But I like mine New England style—topped with fresh blueberries and a little maple syrup. More

Pie of the Week: Crème Brûlée Pie

There are many reasons that I enjoy my job as a pie columnist, but probably the most fun is the opportunity to experiment with new ideas for pie flavors. My favorite muse for new pies, beyond things like seasonality or special occasions, are the flavor combinations made popular by classic plated desserts. More

Dinner Tonight: Yotam Ottolenghi's Skillet-Baked Eggs with Spinach, Yogurt, and Spiced Butter

I'm on a bit of a Yotam Ottolenghi kick lately, finding myself rather in love with his imaginative takes on vegetarian cooking. While I've written already about a few recipes from his recent book Plenty, this one comes from a recent issue of Bon Appetit. I took one look at the gorgeous picture—a skilletful of soft spinach topped with eggs and thick yogurt, drizzled with butter—and put this recipe on the top of my list. More

The Food Lab: Vegan Burgers That Don't Suck

Personally, I do like a good veggie burger. And I'm not talking one of those hockey puck, soy protein, faux-meat, painted-on-grill-mark atrocities aimed at vegetarians who secretly (or publicly) miss meat. I'm talking a veggie burger that actually tastes of grains and vegetables. A veggie burger that celebrates its veggie-ness yet can stand up to and be complemented by the typical toppings and condiments you'd find at a backyard cookout. I'm talking a veggie burger that even a meat-eater would happily eat—topped with cheese and bacon, if they want. And heck, just for the fun of it, why not add an extra challenge here and make the burgers 100 percent vegan as well? More

Cook the Book: Chorizo Carbonara

This Chorizo Carbonara from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Every Day combines Italian dinner with Mexican breakfast by subbing in spicy crumbled chorizo for bacon or guanciale. Chorizo is crumbled and browned and cooked pasta is added to the pan, mixed with the sausage nuggets, and dressed with beaten eggs and heavy cream. The cream, eggs, and juices from the chorizo cook in the heat from the pasta making, tightening up a bit and making a sauce that coats each strand of spaghetti with sauce that has great dairy richness and an insanely porky smokiness. More

Giving eggplant a chance

I am trying to widen my vegetable experience. I'd like to give eggplant a try. Anyone have any tried and true recipes? Please keep in mind I am allergic to tree nuts and my mouth rashes up when I eat... More

Bake the Book: Sea Salt Caramel Swirl Marshmallows

The art of marshmallow making gives candy makers the opportunity to play with all sorts of exciting flavors because, after all, the marshmallow is really just a squishy blank canvas. We have to tip our hats to Shauna Sever, author of Marshmallow Madness for having the foresight and vision to bring together two of our favorite confections in these Sea Salt Caramel Swirl Marshmallows. And if you're wondering, they're just as great as they sound. Tender, bouncy vanilla marshmallows run through with ribbons of sweet and salty caramel. More