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Mr. Nick

Manner Matters: Guests with Chips

Is this simply about the chips, not the behavior? I wonder if this would be an issue if the guests were bringing over bowls of caviar and vats of freshly shucked oysters or something...
It just seems like this is a "food-snobbery" issue rather than the behavior itself. People who think they know a "thing or two" about food seem to turn their noses at snack foods like chips. I don't care how gourmet you think you are and what fancy ass restaurants you eat at on a regular basis, chips (processed and loaded with weird shit) are still awesome in a class of their own.

Ideas in Food vs. S'mores: Meet the S'mores Cake

Sometimes perfect execution and proper technique outweighs "groundbreaking" by far. Recipes don't 'always' have to be weird and crazy to be good ones. It's food done right.
But if you really want "groundbreaking" ideas, visit their website ("Ideas in Food") sometime. They have a very unusual, fascinating approach to food (@dashofginger).

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Vanilla Beans?

Surprised it wasn't mentioned; vanilla pairs really well with seafood (lobster, scallops, etc.). In a sauce or something.
Also with root veg.; vanilla-parsnip puree? Yes.

The Best Sweet Use for Your Smoker? Smoked Ice Cream

I'm thinking like... beer and ginger ice cream with this stuff. Or parmesan gelato.

11 1/2 Things You Can Do With a Wooden Spoon (Besides Stirring)

My grandma also used the handle-end to stir pasta. Said it was the "only way"...friggin Italians.

11 1/2 Things You Can Do With a Wooden Spoon (Besides Stirring)

@franko: Yup. But my mom and grandma only had to do it a couple times; then it was just a scare tactic to let me know - "cut the shit". Soon as I saw it come out in combination with "the eye"..I did.

Win a Copy of 'Vibrant Food'

Veg: Chanterelles
Fruit: Blood oranges

Taste Test: The Best Frozen Puff Pastry

Shiiit. This thread needs intermissions and bathroom breaks.

@candide: I hope you realize you've spent almost 10 consecutive hours hounding on this topic and never actually made a valid point. Congratulations.

What to do with a bunch of hazelnut-flavored coffee beans?

Maybe incorporate it into a romesco (with actual hazelnuts). Either brewed or ground really fine.
Or 'dukkah'; again, with hazelnuts and ground really, really fine.

What to do with a bunch of hazelnut-flavored coffee beans?

Use them as smoking "chips"; soak them in water for an hour and use them in place of wood chips (or combined with them) to smoke ribs/brisket/salmon/etc. The flavor is subtle, but pretty interesting.

I'm also thinking of red eye gravy..with hazelnut coffee. Might be good..?

Staff Picks: Design Your Dream Ben & Jerry's Flavor

Why has B&J not yet done something with Nutella? And peanut butter..? It should happen.

Also, it would be cool if they started incorporating some fresh herbs. Rosemary/thyme and honey. Tarragon and blood orange/meyer lemon. Basil, strawberry, and balsamic (thinkin' stracciatella-style with the balsamic).

Or even a dark chocolate, red wine flavor. With pinenuts? Pinenuts are great in sweet applications. Actually, that rosemary/thyme and honey combo would be good with pinenuts.

A Lighter Take on the Gluten-Free Cookie From Foragers City Grocer

Looks like a black summer truffle before being scrubbed.

...or a meteorite.

Using a sauce for chicken on something else

...bet you could use it as a base for skordalia or hummus.

Using a sauce for chicken on something else

Spread on a burger/sandwich.
Make a compound butter with it to top a steak.
Use it as a base for beef curry.
Make an aioli with it to... put on stuff.
Spread on bread and bake? Garlic bread?
Pasta; an obvious option.

Unusual Pizza Toppings

I just want to point out that pepperoni was not discovered in Italy; it's an American-made cured sausage that probably derived from salami (which actually is of Italian origin). Peperone is a bell pepper, not a pig meat.

(If we really wanna be technical here).

Knife Skills: How to Cut Citrus Fruit Into Wedges, Slices, and Suprèmes

@Kenji: Check this one out. Kinda of ridiculous, but interesting (and cool), nonetheless.

perfect citrus supreme

Getting high on Cinnabon?

Cheaper; take a bite of a cinnabon and chase with a shot of vodka, then gargle and swish.
Smoke a "J" if you're dead-set on the "high" part.

Simple Pleasures

@canihavesome: Yes. I'm a little "Linda Blair"-ish before that first cup. Don't look in my direction or say words to me; things will get heated pretty quickly.

Simple Pleasures

A glass of warm milk; mostly for the nostalgia factor.

Beets in lieu of red food coloring

@Ryan: That test makes no sense. The "color change" occurs during baking, not sitting in a cup.

Beets in lieu of red food coloring

@zomb: The vinegar is also part of that reaction I think. Just as a side note.

Beets in lieu of red food coloring

While it sounds good in theory (to add beets for color), they WILL add an earthy, beet flavor to your cake, not just color (not necessarily a bad thing; think carrot cake). I think you should find a recipe that adds no additional coloring agents to the cake and you might be surprised by how red the cake actually comes out (for the reason pointed out by @zombidanse). It won't be fiery red, but more of a dark, chocolate red.

I'm wondering, though, if you really want that red color to "pop", maybe infusing some of the liquid (buttermilk?) in the cake with beets by way of steeping. I've done that for savory dishes (risotto, pasta, etc.). That way, the beet flavor won't be as pronounced....? I donno, just an idea. I'm not a baker.

@Annie: I love the idea of balsamic! Sounds like it would add a nice acidic sweetness (and color, of course).

Cent'Anni's Homemade Pastas Need Work

Whoa. Those "ravioli" look so sad. What's goin' on with that one on the bottom right? And they're shaped more like mezzalune.

And those orecchiette are not fresh-made. You can tell just by looking at them they came from a package. Are they advertising them as "house-made"?

How to Make Sprinkles Ice Cream (and Set Your Inner Child Free)

I always thought of sprinkles (jimmies, whatever) as a textural addition to ice cream without much added flavor. A texture I never really liked, but still.

Brunch at Estela is Delicious But Pricey

The title of the post clearly says this place is pricey. And look at the address; everything's expensive in the LES. People in this area can afford these prices. And the rent probably sucks.

Let's vent, shall we?

(These are mostly complaints about my co-workers, but you guys/ladies can apply it accordingly.)

If your risotto sits upright in a ring mold, your risotto sucks.

And if your pasta is falling apart as you're plating it, that means it's overcooked (read: disgusting).

If you can see your reflection in the lettuce, you're over-dressing the salads. Stop it. And stop breaking the burrata, too.

Okay folks, let it out. Don't hold back. What really ticks you off when you see somebody cooking something you know is wrong (to your own personal standards or everyone in the culinary world).

Culinary 'To Do' Lists

There's quite a few things on my (imaginary) "to do/try" lists that I haven't gotten around to (obviously talking about cooking here). Techniques, cooking methods, ingredients, dishes, etc. Or just ongoing projects; trying to perfect a certain dish or technique (because I'm never satisfied). Luckily, I'm at a restaurant where our menu is very flexible and we are always experimenting and trying new things. But still, I conduct my own little "experiments" at home once in a while on my days off. Currently working on perfecting a dessert (not fried and not chocolate) ravioli dish (no luck yet; but I still have a few ideas planned that I think will work).
Anyway, I'm curious if you all have anything you're currently working on or meaning to get around to trying. What's next on your lists?

Favorite Kitchen/Food Smell...

I'm sure this topic has come up, but what's your favorite kitchen or food smell?
I have some garlic and anchovies simmering on the stove right now and man, my neighbors in the building probably think I have "company" over because I can't stop myself from saying things like "God DAYUM.." every couple of minutes. The smell is ridiculous; I love it.
So what's your favorite?

Cheetos Pasta...experiment success.

Finally succeeded in my weird obsession to make Cheetos infused pasta. Decided to go eggless on this one, I wanted to taste the Cheetos as much as possible; eggs would only get in the way here.
They actually really do taste more like Cheetos than I thought, but the fact that they are hot and in pasta form (fusilli in this case), the taste reminds me of blue box mac-n-cheese. Surprisingly good. As a "test", I cooked them straight-up, with a bit of pecorino and black pepper.
But I'm open to any other ideas or suggestions you all might have for next time I make them (I made quite a bit; they're drying right now).
(I have a couple pictures if anyone's interested).

Happy Mom's Day

No recipe, no food talk...just sending out a "Happy Mother's Day" to all the mothers and/or grandmothers on here. Hope it's a good one for you. Let them spoil you..I'll be spoiling mine tomorrow; going home (first time in a year) and cooking up big feast.

Subliminal advertising...or what?

I saw these little packages (pun intended) of chocolate cake balls/truffles (whatever they're called) at the front counter in a gas station today. They were called "Sweet Ballz". Is it me or is that just a little too straight forward..in a bad way.
"Hey, can I have one of your 'sweet ballz'?"
So they spelled it with a "z". Does that make it innocent and hip or something?

I couldn't help but laugh out loud, but there was nobody around to share the moment with (the lady at the register was a biii...not nice person).

The next ingredient trend..any predictions?

We discussed the "fried egg on everything" trend in the other post. And as mentioned, we've gone through several ingredient trends in the past; sun-dried tomatoes, truffle-oil, bacon, foie gras, fried/poached egg, etc.

You guys/ladies have any predictions on what the next ingredient trend might be? Or what you *hope* is the next trend?

Plating & presentation...Is it everything?

How much of a "stickler" are you about food presentation and plating? I know we "eat with our eyes" (as they say), but I find sometimes people focus way too much on the presentation of a dish rather than the actual taste and execution of the food. I know food slopped and splattered on a plate can be unappealing, but what's wrong with just putting the food on the plate without worrying *so much* about color and height and negative and positive space...? Yes, I appreciate it when the time is taken, but if it's not, I don't count it out and just conclude that the dish was "unsuccessful". I have, plenty of times, had a dish that was plated with a lot of care and attention to detail, but the actual food fell short. So it's not everything to me.
How about you guys (and ladies)? Do you judge a dish but it's "cover"? Or let the food "speak for itself"?

Anyone have any food or cooking debates/arguments lately?

I had a pretty good one last night at work about the importance of finishing the cooking of pasta (fresh or dried) *in* the pan *with* the sauce with a guy who's argument was, "It soaks up too much sauce and the pasta turns out dry and ugly". I cried a little inside at the ignorance. But it ended eventually and there was no blood drawn.
Anyway, without this being a pasta thread, any of you guys have any good, heated discussions, arguments, or debates about a certain food or cooking technique? Or non-food-related, whatever, I love a good argument.

Soap taste in tupperware....

How the hell do I get it out? Any food I store in them tastes like dish soap. I'm sure somebody here knows some tricks or tips to get the soapy flavor out....

If it makes a difference, I use "Dawn" dish soap, the grey bottle (can't remember the exact name). And yes, I have soaked them before in my sink to get out tomato sauce stains, etc.; so I'm sure that's the cause. But I'd like to use them without my food tasting like soap.
Any help would be appreciated...thanks in advance.

Confessions of us home cooks....

I'll admit, it's not a rare event that I have a cigarette hanging out of my mouth while I'm making dinner for myself. Usually (*usually*), that wouldn't fly in a commercial or restaurant kitchen (but I have seen it before...not kidding). And, of course, there's the occasional dropping of food and things like that (again, not that rare in a restaurant). But when I'm cooking for other people, my culinary instincts kick in and I am a lot more sanitary and careful. For me, though (a currently single guy), I don't care.
I'm curious; what are some of the things you guys and ladies do at home in the kitchen that normally wouldn't "fly" in a commercial kitchen? Things that you, if you happen to see it in a restaurant you were eating at, you would walk out without a second thought?

Still looking for some info...

I can't find any information and/or recipes for smoking a suckling pig. I have read Kenji's article about roasting one, but I'm not sure if smoking has any variations. This is in reference to a gift I gave someone for Christmas (17 lb pig; pretty small). We're gonna smoke it for New Year's/his birthday, but we really have no idea about what temp to cook it at, rub, marinade or both? Butterflied (skin up or down), or left whole in the fetal position? Smoke to 160 and crisp skin in the oven? .......?

Any help would be great.

Smoked Pig Tips

Yes, I broke down and got my hands on a little squealer to give as the gift to the family member getting the smoker. I also got him a good probe thermometer, some chips, and some other little stocking stuffers. (Thanks @imwalkin for the idea of the pig). It's about 17.2 lbs, frozen, and whole. Any tips I can give him for smoking it? I'm not a smoker expert...rubs? temps? basting? Anything you can give me would be appreciated.

Connecticut Tragedy...

Just want to give my regards to anyone who might be somehow linked or related to any of the tragedies that took place in the Connecticut elementary school. You're in my prayers.

New smoker...gift ideas?

A family member is getting a new smoker for Christmas, I'd like to get him a couple gifts to go along with it. Any ideas? Chips? Meat? Seasoning oil? Other necessary equipment?

Smoked Olive Oil

Anyone ever try it? Sounds interesting. Saw it on Williams Sonoma online store.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/2833051/?catalogId=6&bnrid=3120901&cm_ven=Google_PLA&cm_cat=Food&cm_pla=Oils%2C_Vinegars_&_Condiments&cm_ite=Smoked_Olive_Oil_|_Williams-Sonoma&srccode=cii_17588969&cpncode=35-8261337-2

B&J Cannoli Ice Cream

When I heard about this flavor about a month ago, I've kept an eye out for it; I have a soft spot for a good cannoli (even a bad one). I finally spotted it at the store today, so of course I bought it and tried it when I got in the car (yup). I gotta say, I was a little disappointed. I didn't really get *cannoli* from it as much as I did just french vanilla ice cream with random chunks of chocolate and a slight crunch (from the supposed cannoli shells). And I don't really get the mascarpone addition; cannoli filling is traditionally ricotta (I've never tried a cannoli with a mascarpone filling that I liked). But I am a bit of a tough critic when it comes to cannoli, so I'm wondering if anyone else has tried it and liked it. Am I just being too much of a "stickler"?

Food-related Movie Moments

I was watching 'Goodfellas' the other night (for probably the millionth time), I always laugh at the scene where Paulie is slicing the garlic with a razor blade, then you hear one of the guys say "Don't put too many onions in the sauce!" And the scene where Ray Liotta is running around doing stuff while the sauce is on the stove and the whole family has to take turns watching it and stirring (my family is the same, especially on Christmas).
Then I thought about other movies and TV shows with food scenes:
'Pulp Fiction' - the $5 milkshake.
'Breakfast Club' - pretty much the whole lunch scene, but especially when Ally Sheedy is making her sandwich and tosses the bologna.
'Seinfeld' - The "Soup Nazi", "The Big Salad", the "Pie" episode.
And of course, 'When Harry Met Sally' - the "I'll have what she's having" scene.
What are you're favorite food moments in movies or TV shows?

Halloween Traditions?

Surprised this hasn't already been a topic. Anybody have any? Food related (or not).
Of course there's always candy, but does anyone actually have a specific meal or homemade candy they always make?
I typically don't. Usually it's a bad horror movie and snacks while I occasionally answer the door to give candy to trick-or-treaters (and high-schoolers trying to score free candy in a pillow case and no costume).

Strange food facts...

I was reading about zucchini last night (because that's what I do in my spare time; research and read about pointless crap), and I read some weird information about it that I never knew.
Apparently, it's not a vegetable, but an immature fruit (which isn't all that surprising), but the thing that really caught my eye was when it said that zucchini is actually the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower. It just sounds strange; wouldn't stop me from eating it, though.
Anyone know of any strange or little know food facts?

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