love great food well prepared and try to eat it as frequently as possible.
grew up in the US, learned to cook in England (Leith's!), fell in love with cuisines of the world.

  • Location: New Haven, CT
  • Favorite foods: sriracha sauce, beans, hummus, fresh fresh veggies with deep flavor, pad thai, nicaraguan tacos/plantains/everything, Chocolate, brownies, bread!, olives!, pickles!
  • Last bite on earth: the last perfect bite of the middle of a nicaraguan taco, covered in cabbage shreds and crema. heavenly.

Latest Comments

Business Name Inspiration

No expertise here, but I'm guessing for catering that experience you can point to and former clients who can recommend you (i.e. networking, word of mouth) are more important than attractive website and business cards. From my entrepreneurial readings, I would suggest just starting, maybe with a few gigs at a discount rate for people you already know - people who maybe have eaten your food and would be willing to take a chance on you as a brand new caterer. Try some gigs and then start thinking about branding? And good luck!

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

@gfweb um.... you really think that? I counter that the vegans and vegetarians I know (my partner and I included) spend a lot MORE time thinking about food, new ingredients, researching recipes and techniques, than non-vegans. Comes with the territory, you know! We can't just make spaghetti & meatballs or a piece of chicken with a veggie on the side. We've been going recipe crazy in my house for the last year - we use at least one new recipe pretty much every single day, sometimes several! And I've been bookmarking some of Kenji's stuff he's come up with this month. Check the comments - a lot more vegans are certainly paying attention to Kenji's posts than did before!

The Vegan Experience, Day 6: Calorie Control

Re: "I'm not convinced that the shift from a mostly plant-based diet to an all plant-based diet has done me any good as there's little evidence that a no-meat diet is better for you than a little-meat diet."

The. China. Study.

The China Study, by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, nutritionist. I've seen it recommended on some of your other vegan posts too. I really recommend reading it! Campbell actually addresses this exact point, over and over, with copious evidence - how we *thought* just limiting diet to a low level of animal protein and fat was sufficient, that no further benefit could be gained by cutting out ALL animal products, but his and other studies have proven the reverse! That the negative health effects of animal products are seen at surprisingly low levels of intake - even among rural Chinese populations where people eat ~10% of the amount of animal products that Americans eat on average.

There are strong correlations between animal products and all manner of cancers and heart diseases, even at very low levels of consumption.

From Behind the Bar: On Tipping

My favorite is going out with friends at happy hour, when they decide to still tip their standard 15-20% on the *happy hour* price. I say, poor bartenders! They shouldn't get less money just because they're serving at happy hour! Be a pal to your bartender - full price tips at happy hour times.

Had a bartender last week who I pointed out he forgot a drink on our tab, then I still tipped at least a buck a drink on draft beers during happy hour. Biggest thank you I've ever gotten from a bartender!

The Physiology of Foie: Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical

Kenji, this is a great article and a great service to the internets in general. I searched for info like this about foie gras years ago, and turned up nothing so comprehensive or balanced. Thank you for your research and great write-up. If only I could get the angry people standing outside our local french restaurant with disturbing photos on picket signs to read this!

And for the record, I'm a vegetarian - never had foie gras, never plan to. But I had suspected it couldn't really be as horrible as it gets portrayed. At least not any worse than any other sector of the meat/egg/dairy industries.

Breakfast in Jamaica: Ackee, Saltfish, Callaloo

"No Jamaican breakfast would be complete without a wide variety of fried foods" seems narrow-minded to me. Surely you don't mean to suggest that all Jamaican people eat a pile of fried foods every morning? I'm guessing this is a "classic Jamaican breakfast" in the same way that bacon, eggs, and toast would be a classic American breakfast - you can find it, but it's not necessarily what people eat every day. Although I do like me some fried foods!

Dried beans/lentils virgin

Pressure cooker! I will have to investigate that. Thanks for the tips! But it is good to know I can get almost-perfect results with lentils/split peas, but I will keep in mind that thick beans need more time.

Just to be clear, when people say "soak the beans" that just means chuck them in a big pot and cover with water, yes? And does anything about them change so that I would know they were sufficiently soaked? or you just do it overnight and call it done? (Like, with bread I can see it rise and know it's ready to bake - anything similar with soaking beans?)

I'm sure all my questions are hilarious to anyone who's done this dozens of times. Alas, I had no one to learn from! Thanks, SE!

Dinner Tonight: Fried Rice with Saffron, Ginger, and Tomatoes (Arroz Frito Aortuguesa)

@Pauper Nick I used to do my eggs like you when cooking Chinese food, but then observed the cooks at our local greasy spoon, open-kitchen Chinese diner just cracking the eggs on top of the fried rice when it was almost done frying, a few quick stirs, then removing the whole finished dish from pan once egg had set up. It works great! That's how I always do my eggs in fried rice now - none of this need for a separate egg bowl or breaking it up with a spoon. The raw egg sets and cooks within about 20-30 seconds in a hot pan full of fried rice, and the end result looks just the same.

Ever tried it like that?

Dinner Tonight: Gallo Pinto

I would just like to throw in my preference for the slightly different but Equally Awesome Nicaraguan dish of the same name. You know, so we can have a rumble about it. Bring it!

It's a little less glamorous, Nicaragua being a notably poorer country than its southern neighbor, but I've filled myself on Nica gallo pinto with great glee on many occasions. All hail the painted rooster!

How to keep leftover avocado?

I use half an avocado at a time. When I twist it open, I use the non-pit half, and stick the half with the pit still in it back in the fridge wrapped in a bit of plastic wrap, a baggie, or in a tupperware. The unused half is always still gloriously green when I go back for it the next day. Can't imagine leaving avocado uneaten for longer than a day though!

A List of Street Food Vendors Using Twitter

In their honor, The Cupcake Truck - (@cupcaketruck) - New Haven, CT. SO GOOD.

Except frequently they break my heart and forget to tweet anything, only updating their blog. Then I go weeks at a time without cupcake in my life! It hurts!

Defrosting Rice

I freeze and reheat rice on a weekly basis. Requires very little thinking, and no need for a stove or worry. Put cooked rice in a microwave-safe tupperware; freeze. When you want to eat it, loosen the lid, give it a little bit of water if it's been frozen more than a day or two (as it will have dried out more), and microwave til it's heated through and rice-like again. Covering it with the lid in the micro keeps it from steaming all its water straight into the air. Easy!

New Jersey Dispatch: 99-Cent Swad Micro Curries Tasting

yes yes yes. I just found these in an Indian grocery store near New Haven, CT a week ago, and they have changed my life! I love good, carefully cooked Indian food, and if I were eating dinner or sharing with other people I'd surely still go with home-cooking or take-out. But! for the busy woman who needs to pack 5 lunches during the week and finds herself too tired to cook anything at all, these are a blessing!!! Rice cooker rice with 3/4 of this makes lunch, with the last 1/4 for a quick snack when I get home. AWESOME. I'd say there's not much better you can do for 99 cents without actually cooking. Thank you, Swad.

The Great Fast-Food Wings Taste Test

Great group piece, guys! Oh, how I would love to hang out in your office and taste test some wings.

Any good restaurants in Cancun?

My mom and I found a branch of the Mexican chain 100% Natural (cien por ciento natural) by accident while wandering around the downtown area. We were highly impressed with this excellent vegetarian and healthy twist on the often meat- and grease-heavy options. More of a lunch spot, and has plenty of chile available that packs a good kick.

Anybody a Freegan?

also - guess I'll have to watch out how I describe myself! Didn't realize people associated this word with collecting food from dumpsters. The things you learn.

Anybody a Freegan?

I describe myself varyingly as a freegan or a flexitarian, but I've certainly never done any dumpster diving.

Rather, it's because I was 100% vegetarian for many years, and I still am in my own home, but as a poor college student on a limited budget and with little free time, it hurt to turn down all the free food opportunities one can find on a college campus just because they happened to be serving meat foods. Free, nicely prepared foods including meat seemed better than yet another meal of pasta with beans and salsa dumped on top (for which I had to purchase the ingredients, no less). I see no problem with living off free banquet/reception/lecture food as much as possible.

But now I go with flexitarian because the “only if it’s free” caveat has slipped a little in the last year or so. It’s a slippery slope, kids. Careful with your freeganism.

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

Saddest day Evar!
At least she'll be living right around the corner from me. Feel free to give me a call when you need a taste-tester, Sarah.

Meet & Eat: Sarah Wolf, Serious Eats Intern

What a fine lookin' woman. Please bake some molasses cake sometime for your neighbor around the corner. Thnx.

Casellula: A Down-to-Earth, Cheese-Driven Spot Whose (Unfortunate) Name Says It All

We had a similar sounding cheese and wine restaurant open here in New Haven a couple months ago - Caseus. My mind was blown by the delicious cheese creations. And even better, their house pickles are some of the best I've ever tasted, and a great compliment to the flavorful cheeses. What a great model for a restaurant. Glad to hear the idea has gained popularity.

Question of the Day: Any former vegetarians out there? What happened? Why'd you go back to meat?

Being a poor student! I was happily veg for 4 years of high school, first 2 years of college while I lived in the dorms. Then I got an apartment. I have no problem cooking a totally vegetarian diet for myself in my home - I never buy meat ingredients at the store. And I still very rarely pay for meat when eating out, unless I'm really sick of just ordering the freaking veggie burger. But the number of free food events at my university and my poor student budget make passing up free meaty meals seem wasteful. I call myself a freegan now (vegetarian unless it's free). I've heard others use the term too.

Vegetarians: What dish could (briefly) turn you back to meat?

A NY Strip steak, lovingly cooked to medium rare or less, is a thing of beauty.
That, and anything you shove in front of me when I've been drinking. I get the booze munchies. Usually it's hot wings that get past my veggie filter in this state.
Strange that my meat concessions should be some of the bloodiest/boniest options, instead of something barely meat-seeming like a burger or chicken nuggets.
(Vegetarian for objections to the meat industry. So actually that farm-raised, ethically treated, happy cow that becomes my steak at a fancy steak place is fine with me.)