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unpocojmoney

  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Favorite foods: Sushi, seafood, bacon, green curry, dumplings of any kind
  • Last bite on earth: Hototegai

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Phantom of the Fridge Secret Stash

Tacos. We live down the street from a 24-hour Tex-Mex joint that has absolutely been a blessing and a curse. Also, spring rolls with shrimp. Basically anything crunchy!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Perfect Steak Set from Double R Ranch Co.

Rare and juicy - and as long as the outside has that char and crust, I don't care what cut it is. (But I prefer strip or ribeye).

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Phantom of the Fridge Secret Stash

Anything frozen or leftovers, really. I guess if I was being honest, frozen potato latkes, naan, or mini chicken tacos from Trader Joe's. I buy them just for late-night cravings!

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: The Perfect Steak Set from Double R Ranch Co.

I've been making them per Kenji's adage: salt early, flip often. My steaks have been coming out wonderfully.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia's Secret Weapons Pork Kit

High-quality olive oil, as a finishing touch, can never be overlooked. Also a fried egg - it makes anything better.

Cook the Book: 'Japanese Soul Cooking'

Agedashi tofu. When done right, it's just so perfect. The crunch of fried batter, the silky tofu melting in your mouth, the contrast of sweet sauce and scallions and maybe some mushrooms... oh man, I need some.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

The Food Lab: How to Roast a Whole Suckling Pig

I'm trying to decide what to do for Christmas dinner and all I can think is that my dog is about the same size as that pig and she might be incredibly confused by this while ordeal.

Cook the Book: 'Ottolenghi'

My most inventive side dish? Hmm... probably ruining Italian egg-drop soup (Straciatella) and calling it a custard...

Marvelous Mobile Pies from S & J's Woodfired Pizza in Atlanta, GA

They are pretty damn good! I'm a fan whenever I find them on Saturday's Piedmont Park market, or on Sunday at Grant Park.

The Food Lab Redux: How to Make the Perfect Bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen

Ramen Week is making me very, very, very hungry for ramen. Now that the weather is cooling off, I'm hoping to try making it this weekend. I never would have braved it without this guide. Thanks, Kenji! I really appreciate your work!

Cook the Book: 'Treme'

I live in Atlanta, so I'd have to say soul food and Coca Cola define this place. All of the classic joints serve fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, and approximately seven thousand delicious and calorie-laden sides.

Giveaway: Win A Limited Edition "Zelda Collection" from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Whiskey and ginger ale would make an incredible ice cream!

The Pizza Lab: Combine The KettlePizza and the Baking Steel For The Ultimate Home Pizza Setup

The Pizza Lab: Combine The KettlePizza and the Baking Steel For The Ultimate Home Pizza Setup

This is awesome. I have been meaning to purchase a Big Green Egg and Kettle Pizza insert for quite some time. The baking steel has already revolutionized my pies, when I'm not skillet-broiling, that is. Now that spring has sprung, I need no more motivation to pull the trigger on this thing.

Valentine's Day Giveaway: Win This Prime Rib

A romantic meal is not spent in front of the TV. Maybe there are candles. A prime rib would definitely add to the romance.

Staff Picks: What's Your Achilles Heel in the Kitchen?

Mayonnaise, and not because I can't make it, but because sometimes it comes out perfectly and other times my effort dead-ends in a kitchen strewn with greasy bowls, curdled yolk-oil sludge, and tears.

Weekend Cook and Tell Round Up: Flu Fighters

@berzerkeley : Thank you for that :) As someone who works in immunology research, that cracked me up.

Red Minestrone from 'Stewed'

Looks good and I'm putting this on my must-make-soon list! But re: your complaint... after cooking, wouldn't eight ounces of dried pasta cook into a much greater volume then 8 oz of fresh pasta? Since fresh pasta is heavier, I'd imagine that amount after cooking wouldn't overwhelm the soup. I don't know if I'm explaining my thought correctly. Just trying to think of ways to successfully incorporate fresh pasta into the dish, because I love it!

Atlanta: The Rusty Nail Pub Hits the Mark with Top-Shelf Burgers

I drive by there all the time on my way to ethnic grub on BuHi. Going to have to stop in ASAP.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Korin Chef Knife

Onion. Once I mastered those cuts, it became my favorite thing to do.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia's Pork Belly Heaven Package

I'm a huge fan of carbonara. Also on pizza!

In Our Community Corner: Meet Diana Horst (aka 'dhorst')

So cool to see dhorst in the hot seat :) I hope to attend one of those pizza parties some day!

Pizza Obsessives: Andris "Man of Steel" Lagsdin

Andris, if you see this, I just want to thank you for mass-marketing the pizza steel. It has revolutionized my pies at home and I LOVE it.

Cook the Book: 'Jerusalem: A Cookbook'

Falafel is my absolute favorite, but I love stuffed veggies too. My best, most memorable meal in Israel consisted of simple stuffed tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc.

How to cook with savory jellies?

Hey everyone! My boyfriend and I were at a farmer's market the other day, and we were completely amazed by these savory jellies we sampled on crackers. We ended up going home with a jar of jalepeno lime and one of vidalia onion, as well as a sweet butter rum peach jelly! But now that we're home, we have no idea what to do with them. Jelly on toast only goes so far. I'd like to incorporate these into more exciting meals.

Ideas?

Thanks!

Moving to Tampa, is there anything good to eat?

Due to some crazy circumstances, I will be spending at least a few months in Tampa this summer. I've been fairly spoiled in the food department, having lived in Philly and Atlanta. I've spent time in Tampa and tried Wood Fired Pizza, Bern's, Ella's, The Refinery, Bin 27 Bistro, Taco Bus, and Samurai Sushi. My favorite was Wood Fired. While that pizza is clearly amazing, I need more go-to spots!

So my question to you SE'ers is, where should I eat while I'm in Tampa? Any hidden gems? And also, where can I buy fresh mozzarella for my homemade pizzas? I'm going to be in major withdrawal from Claudio's in Philly!

If you're forced to put pineapple on a pizza...

I'm making pizza for a bunch of friends this weekend and one has requested pineapple as a topping. For the record, I reside firmly in the "no pineapple on pizza" camp. But I was thinking this might be a fun chance to make pineapple on pizza into something classy. What goes with pineapple? How can I make this into a delicious pie and not just a crappy abomination? I'll use fresh pineapple and.....?

Good butcher in Tampa, FL? ISO pork belly...

Hi everyone,
I'll be traveling to Tampa next week and on the agenda is curing bacon. While I'm bringing my own pink salt and spice blend, none of my friends are South Florida locals and we don't know where to find the best, "happiest" pork belly. Any ideas for a reputable butcher or local farmer? Google hasn't been helpful.
Thanks!

Dumb cooking mistakes

This morning I had a little extra time, so I decided to make an omelet for breakfast. I had just poured the eggs over the veggies in the pan when I realized I'd forgotten to season the egg mixture. My mind elsewhere, I grabbed the closest thing - a 3lb box of Morton's salt next the stove - and mindlessly dumped into the eggs. Immediately my omelet went from almost-done to a salty mess. I tried to scrape out the salt, finish cooking, and eat the result... but my breakfast was ruined and I didn't have time to make another.

Have you ever ruined a perfectly decent meal because your mind was elsewhere?

Planning an NYC/Brooklyn pizza tour?

I am pizza-obsessed and currently living in Philly. Although I've been fortunate enough to try some of the best pizzerias in the country, I've never made a dedicated trip to NYC with the sole purpose of trying pizzerias like Motorino, Patsy's, Franny's, Paulie Gee's, di Fara's, etc.

So I ask of you... if you had one day in NYC (Brooklyn and Manhattan both included) to hit up as pizzerias as possible, which would you be sure to include? In what order would you recommend going to them? Are some better at specific times (less crowded)?

I'm completely starting from scratch and any feedback is helpful. Thanks!

What's in your knife block?

I was just organizing my knife block and couldn't help but laugh at the mismatched collection I've accumulated over the few years that I've lived on my own. I'm wondering what knives everyone keeps around, what are their stories, and which ones are your favorites?

My collection started with a 9" Forschner chef's knife, purchased with $50 from one of my first "real" paychecks from my first adult job. I happily used only that knife for about a year. Then the local kitchen store had a sale and I picked up two pretty, shiny Shuns: one paring, one 7" hollow-ground Santoku.

Nine months later, I got three Wusthoffs on a complete impulse buy. There was no real reason that I needed a utility knife, flexible-blade filleting knife, or a giant carving knife (that I still haven't used). I also picked up a dirt-cheap Pure Komachi bread knife along the way.

Despite the shiny and expensive additions, my first Forschner is still the knife I use most frequently. I never believed anyone that said you can get by with just a solid chef's knife, but after a few years, I firmly believe it. That baby is a workhorse and I'd recommend it to anyone.

So again, what are your knives, what are their stories?

I don't like burgers. Help?

I have a confession: I don't like hamburgers.

But there might be hope for me, because I don't dislike them, either. I've just never understood the appeal. Maybe I haven't had the 'right' burger yet. I've eaten them at barbeques and in a few restaurants that are generally considered to serve decent ones (Flip and The Vortex in Atlanta, Village Whiskey in Philly). They didn't do it for me. I'd just rather eat other things, like pizza. Or fries. Or fried chicken.

Here's the thing: I want to like burgers. Please help me do so. Where can I try a good burger, one that will make me change my mind and crave them? What is the best thing about a good burger? What part of the burger-eating experience is the best part?

I'm located in Philly, if that helps with local suggestions.

For those with 'unique' pizza stones...

People have posted here about the $3 quarry stones they've gotten at Home Depot that serve just fine as pizza stones. I went to Loew's and asked for one. They had no idea what I was talking about. I asked my boyfriend, who knows nothing about food and everything about building materials, and he thought I meant a piece of granite.

Can anyone elaborate so that I can have my own ghetto pizza stone?

At Loew's I saw huge slabs of concrete marketed as 'pavers' - wide, and at least three inches thick and thought that might be my best bet, but I'm truly lost. Any help is appreciated!

Did I kill my starter?

A few weeks ago, I made my first sourdough starter. After days of draining, feeding, and stirring, this weekend it finally produced a batch of amazing breads. In fact, I went a little nuts on one batch, and used almost all of my 'fed' starter, leaving about an ounce left. I figured that it wouldn't be a big deal, and just fed it a much smaller amount of flour and water than I originally would have, thinking I could just let it re-double and re-double over the course of a few days. However, after a few days of this plan, it seems like the starter has lost its doubling power. I've been keeping it in a clear plastic container, so I can see it bubbling, but it never seems to rise or go anywhere. Can anyone tell me if I've killed it, or if it just needs a few more days to recover?

Chicken cordon bleu

Finally, after more than four years of dating, my boyfriend has begun to embrace the idea of 'eating well.' This is huge for him. He once lived for months on Stovetop stuffing alone. (I wish I was joking). Instead of turning up his nose at my 'fancy' food and ordering pizza, he's spent the last few months taking test bites and actually coming back for more. Recently, we've even begun grocery shopping and preparing meals together. Clearly, I'm in heaven at this turn of events.

Since we're still in the early stages, I'm trying to keep things simple by preparing his favorite foods from scratch. This way, he'll come to trust my cooking and I can ease him into more exotic fare. This is what brings me to my issue. He has requested chicken cordon bleu. I have very little experience with chicken cordon bleu, having always associated it with frozen food, and therefore avoiding it. So... my question for the general public is... any good tips on how to ace this and create a killer meal? I've decided that I'm going to use proscuitto instead of deli ham, but that's about it!

Thanks!

Just watched a gentleman eat roadkill...

...on National Geographic's "Taboo" show.

Did anyone else see this?

I'm an adventurous eater, and I make serious attempts to eat locally and avoid factory meat. Furthermore, I'd like to consider myself accepting of all tastes, even if I wouldn't necessarily want to taste something myself.

Yet I just watched a documentary in which a cute old British guy harvested roadkill, then butcher and prepare it for a group meal. He skinned and cleaned the badger - which was literally green and moldy - and the clearly decomposing innards fell out of the animal in a gloppy mass of organic pudding. And I almost hurled. He determined that the badger was too rotten to eat, but fortunately, he had a freezer chest literally stuffed full of other harvests. This included an owl - "it's been in here a few years so it's not looking its best" and a rabbit - "I pulled this off the 85." Then he prepared a seabird casserole, garnished with a braised badger head that he also had on hand from previous scavenging excursions.

The documentary did mention that the guy's diet was based on disapproval for modern factory food production. Scavenging to save the environment, I suppose. That's not something I disagree with. But- I have a strong stomach - and this spectacle almost had me seeing my dinner for a second time.

Did anyone else see that? What's the line between "freegan" and "awful?" What did you think?

How to prepare London Broil Roast?

Presently defrosting on my countertop is a 2.5lb, 1 1/2-inch-thick London broil roast. It's going to be tonight's dinner and I hope it will make my bloodthirsty boyfriend very happy (he's been craving steak lately). The guy at my farmer's market told me that a simple scorching-hot sear with a finish under the broiler would suffice, but I was wondering if anyone has a better idea for how to cook this bad boy? Only limitation: I don't have a grill or access to one (apartment living).

Thanks in advance!

Wanted: Two hearty eaters to complete reservation for four at Per Se

Date: 12/26/09
Time: 5:45pm

We have a reservation at Per Se but need two dining partners. Apparently we are the only ones in our group of friends willing to shell out $275/head for this meal. Their loss is your gain! We're looking for two fun, easygoing people to come eat with us. Hopefully we can enjoy an amazing meal and perhaps make new friends while we're at it.

US: Early twenties, female, graduate students, adventurous eaters
YOU should be: Liberal, not entirely awkward, willing and able to pay your way.

If interested, please email jkoza@sas.upenn.edu. For fairness, it's first-come first-served, but in case more than two people are interested, we will maintain a list in case of cancellations.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Home cured bacon

Last week, I posted about smoking home-cured bacon in a apartment without a smoker. I haven't gotten that far yet. My bacon brined (in a wet cure without pink salt) for a few days, then I hung it for 24 hours. I pulled it out today and it just looked funky. After trimming the rind, I sliced a little bit off the side and fried it up plain.

Can anyone who's made bacon at home tell me if it's supposed to be grayish? I know that the lack of pink salts will probably change the coloring, but this doesn't look or smell like any bacon I've ever seen before. The smell isn't bad, per se, just different... very meaty and raw. I've never done this before so I'm not sure if that's normal. Thoughts?

(As an aside, my pink salts arrived yesterday, so my next batch will definitely incorporate a dry rub and those glorious nitrates).

Smoking at home without a smoker?

So I got a little sidetracked on my way back to the city today and ended up at an Asian grocery store. I walked in with 15 minutes to spare and walked out with tons of good stuff to experiment with. One item: pork belly. My bacon will be brining for the next few days, and I wanted to figure out how to smoke it in the meantime. I don't have a smoker, and don't have any immediate plans to invest in one, so any advice on how to rig one up something makeshift would be much appreciated.

Got a Per Se reservation- have questions

So finally, the stars aligned with my schedule, and I was able to get a Per Se reservation for December. Cue excitement. A friend (with whom I have cooked some dishes from the French Laundry Cookbook) and I are very much looking forward to it, having drunkenly slept through our Ad Hoc reservations when we were in the Napa Valley this summer. (We had been unable to get French Laundry rezzies that night; I was bummed at the time, but looking back it's a blessing in disguise).

So I had a few questions for those of you in the know. First, we're 22 and 23 years old - full-time grad students. Someday, we hope to have a lot of money, but for now... well, education is expensive. We're aware of the $275/head tasting menu, but what can we expect to spend on wine? When I go out to eat, I enjoy a glass, maybe two, but I don't want to be considered cheap at a great restaurant. Do they expect us to order lots of wine? Any advice on handling that situation?

Also, the other thing - we got a table for four because it was more available than a table for two. However- we're 22 and 23 and none of our other friends are willing to drop six weeks' food budget on one meal. We're optimistic that we'll be able to find some people to fill the other two seats, but what if we don't? I can't find any information about cancellation fees before the 72-hour window, but definitely don't want to pay them. Could we let another person use my reservation if someone, say, from Serious Eats or Craigslist wanted a table for four on a lovely December evening? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to auction the table on Ebay, just trying to make sure all the bases are covered just in case.

Thanks in advance :) I'm very excited, having had varying degrees of success in recreating French Laundry cookbook recipes. It's going to be fun to see what they're actually intended to taste like.

Artichokes French - lighter?

I love taking artichokes, dipping them in egg wash, flouring them, and then sauteeing them in olive oil.. finishing them with a silky buttery lemon-wine sauce. But this isn't too healthy. Any ideas as to how to keep the texture and flavor of the dish while lightening it up?

What to do for dinner...

I have homemade gnocchi and great hot sausage from a local farm. I'd love to combine them into a delicious meal. Anyone have ideas for anything else I can add to the dish? I'm feeling low on culinary creativity.

farmers' market beets...

Got some gorgeous fresh beets at my farmer's market today. I've never cooked them at home before, and am looking forward to a beet/arugula/chevre salad with walnuts... mmm. Anyway, it seems like such a shame to only use the roots and throw away those gorgeous green/pink greens. I'm sure someone knows what to do with them... any ideas?

Need help with a corn crepe recipe from Symon/Ruhlman

Hi everyone,
There's not much to do on Easter for a Jewish girl like me, so I've been in the kitchen all day. On second thought, that's not much different from what I do every other Sunday...
So I have a potluck dinner party tomorrow night, and I'd planned on bringing the Corn Crepes with BBQ Sauce and Sour Cream recipe that Michael Ruhlman includes in "The Soul of a Chef." The recipe is Michael Symon's, and hails from Lola. Anyway, the corn crepes are really giving me problems. I followed the recipe exactly, but my first crepe spread out thick onto the pan and cooked to a custardy, eggy interior. I added a little more milk to the batter to thin it out. The next one was thinner, but the crepe remained mushy even after it was cooked through and the exterior browned. The flavor was great, but the structure totally killed it. This bad boy is supposed to hold duck confit, BBQ sauce, and sour cream, but it crumbled in my fingers.

At this point, I stepped away from the stove. However, I saved the rest of the batter, and was thinking about maybe adding some flour. However, I realized that I've never heard anything about this dish outside of the Ruhlman book, and don't know if the crepes are maybe supposed to be on the softer side. So my question is, has anyone else made this recipe, and if so, do you have any pointers or tips?

Thanks a lot, and happy Easter to all of those who celebrate it!

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