Brave New World: Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake

The only disappointing thing is that I live in Massachusetts and I won't be able to try this as this is just some chain in Canada.

What will you make for Easter?

Doing lamb 2 ways this year. I have a butcher shop boning out a leg of lamb and seasoning it. I also have them making lamb sausage middle eastern style with zatar and harissa.

Open Thread: White Chocolate, Yay or Nay?

I knew someone who was allergic to cocoa. The closest thing she could eat was white chocolate, so I guess it has its place in the world

So what did you have for St. Patrick's Day?

I Braised the corned beef brisket in the BBQ smoker with 5 bottles of gluten free beer (it is brisket after all). I made roasted carrots and turnips in a dutch oven over the fireplace. To take the place of cabbage, I ran Brussels sprouts through the food processor's coleslaw blade and sauteed the shredded sprouts with slices of golden delicious apple, butter, and some dry hard cider (Woodchuck "Crisp"). I wrapped red bliss potatoes in a foil pan and threw the whole thing into the bbq smoker for 5 hours at 250 degrees. I also made Chocolate stout cake with Brooklyn Black chocolate stout. I also made a BBQ pork shoulder since people in Ireland would have had pork instead of corned beef.

Cast Iron question.

I found that deep-frying using my cast iron pan gave it pretty much instant seasoning. Deep frying takes place around 350 degrees and has a lot of vegetable oil involved. Breaded eggplant cutlets, chicken wings, or some other excuse you can think of will probably help you season that pan quickly.

Favorite cut of beef for...

Beef ribs fall into that category of cook for very long time in braising liquid.

What are you giving up?

I am not giving up a lot food wise for lent, but I have decided to stop playing computer and video games for the 40 days. It's my entertainment, and I guess I will have to do something else that is more constructive for that 1-2 hours per day (like cooking).

Cast Iron question.

The above comments are pretty accurate. Don't worry about the rust too much, you can use a paper towel and some vegetable oil to wipe the pan and it will pretty much help with that. If you are really into seasoning your cast iron, you can deep fry something in it, you get really instant seasoning. Fry up some breaded eggplant slices in 1/2 inch of oil and that thing will be pretty well seasoned.

One place to eat in Boston

I guess the question depends. Are you into Chinese food? Jade Garden in Chinatown is pretty darn good. Windsor Dim Sum Cafe is good for Dim sum.

If you want North End italian cheap eats. Bring some cash to Umberto's on Hanover St. for some Sicilian style pizza and Arancini (deep fried risotto balls with a mozzarella cheese and beef center. Maria's pastry for a zeppole, lobster tail, or cannoli.

You also could go to Burdick's in Harvard Square for hot chocolate and hand pulled espresso.

Stress-Baking: Any good recipe suggestions?

Chocolate beer cake. It's pretty fast, vegan, can be made with coffee instead of beer, and when made as cupcakes with pieces of chocolate stuffed into them, forms the center of a lava-style cupcake.

Best cuts of pork for grinding?

I am in agreement with Lorenzo here. Boneless Butt is the cut you want. I would do a very coarse grind first, mix with your spices and salt, then grind down to the fineness you desire. It's easier on the machine to do a very coarse grind first.

How to Make Chili Oil?

Chemistry says that the capsaicin in the hot peppers should dissolve in oil based solvents or ethanol (alcohol) much the same way that people extract coffee in water. I would guess some of the same rules apply to making coffee in that, the finer the grind of stuff, the more of the active chemicals will leech out into the dissolving liquid. Higher concentration of solids (peppers and pepper flakes) will also make a stronger solution. Be sure to wear gloves in this case and wash everything with soap, water, and possibly vodka to dissolve all the rest of the tools that you use to prevent unwanted spice contamination.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Thermapen Thermometer

Leg of lamb (bone removed) stuffed with herbs and garlic roasted over a hardwood charcoal and wood fire.

Taste Test: Does Using Better Quality Alcohol Make Better Tasting Fruitcake?

In a cake without fruit, the booze quality makes a difference. I was working up recipes for our "Iron Chef" competition at Babson College, and I brought a bottle of PYRAT XO rum for making a spice cake with rum over the top. We really didn't have a heavy alcohol flavor despite putting a teaspoon over each cupcake sized cake. When using the inexpensive rum supplied by the dining services during the competition, it really had a cheap booze taste/smell/burn.

Are all wiskeys distilled?

Technically, whiskey is a distilled product. Someone has commented on freeze distilling, but that is still considered distilling the product. The difference between freeze distilling and steam distilling is that freeze distilling collects a very high percentage of all the coloring/flavoring components much like how the syrup from a convenience store slush drink settles out of the ice. Steam distilling mainly pulls off the highly volitile alcohols and like compounds leaving a lot of colored and wierd flavored stuff at the bottom of the distilling machine.

Start with a graham cracker pie crust....

Pumpkin pie works well with Graham cracker crust

5 Festive Ciders to Spice up Your Holidays

I find this stuff too sweet for my taste. I would rather have a dry champagne like cider.

What are some side dishes I can make in advance?

Does Jambalaya count? Turducken is more of a Louisiana type dish and I figured you could do some stuff along that theme.

Stuffed clams?

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: High Road Ice Cream 6-Pack

There is an experimental flavor that I have tried which unfortunately can't be replicated on an industrial scale. In the late 1980's (OK, I was in grade school), LIFE magazine did an article on Ben and Jerry (the guys who own the ice cream empire). Ben and Jerry did a custom test flavor called "That's LIFE" which is a vanilla ice cream with slightly reduced sugar and a big slice of apple pie dropped into the machine before it is churned. I have replicated this flavor by buying a nice slice of apple pie from a local bakery, dusting the slice with extra cinnamon and nutmeg from their espresso toppings counter, and bringing the takeout slice (in plastic clam shell) to a local ice cream shop to be mixed into a large serving of vanilla using their "flurry" machine and served in a big cup. The big chunks of crust in the vanilla ice cream give great texture and the large apple chunks with cinnamon taste great.

Taste Test: Is Better Vanilla Extract Worth the Price?

I have been making my own extract for a while now. The thing is that I get more complex flavors from the "extract" since my source of food safe alcohol can be more creative (like bourbon for instance). FDA rules for pure vanilla extract say 13.75 ounces of bean per gallon of 70 proof alcohol. I tend to buy "extract grade" beans (misshapen ones), which are less expensive and I soak them in a nice alcohol of 70+ proof for a while to make a complex vanilla extract.

Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve

Do shrimp count here? I second the cioppino and smoked fish ideas. There is more than one type of smoked fish. If I was to go more modernist American, sushi can easily handle more than 7 varieties of fish.

Open Thread: What's Your Favorite Christmas Cookie?

I guess I might be a bit of a throwback, but I go for chocolate chip cookies made with organic chocolate chips that have 70% cocoa mass (no dairy in the chips to cut the chocolate flavor), home made vanilla extract (organic vanilla beans steeped in organic rum for 9 months) organic fairly traded sweeteners (sugar and molasses), real butter and duck eggs for extra richness.

Know Your Sweets: Pumpkin Pie

I went to Old Sturbridge Village which has historical reenactors explaining the history of the cuisine and things that they do. One of the techniques was to bake the pumpkin until soft, scoop out the flesh, and dehydrate it into some kind of fruit roll-up for later use. The people there said it yielded a very good pumpkin flavor when made into pie.

Open Thread: How are You Going to Cook Your Turkey?

Deep fry in 4 gallon pot outside

Yes or No....Slow Cooker Mashies

I don't think it's a great idea to make mashed potatoes slowly. I think you will get some kind of sweet flavor from the way stuff has a habit of getting caramelized over time. Sweet potatoes might work well in this kind of application, but white starchy ones may turn into glue.

Know any fast Caribbean dish ideas?

Hello Serious Eats community. I am helping a team of undergraduate students with an "iron chef" style competition with help from their school dining services staff. The contest will be between two teams of 5 people each who have to come up with a Caribbean themed appetizer, main course, and dessert in 60 minutes or less from scratch. Some slightly exotic ingredients like rum and coconut milk will be available, but the produce might not get beyond what is available in the cafeteria salad bar and some tropical fruit like mangoes and plantains. Please attach recipes that can be done in 40 minutes or less or it can't really be considered.

Thank you,

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