Mr. Nick

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Grilled Steak

@Kenji: Hah. Thanks. But I was actually joking. Gimme a f*ckin steak. Tofu doesn't compare (sorry vegans).

The Food Lab's Definitive Guide to Grilled Steak

Any vegan suggestions to substitute the steak...?

How to Color Fresh Pasta

Sounds gimicky and much more in depth, but extracting chlorophyll from parsley to use in pasta dough (or green sauces) yields unBELIEVABLE color without any need to adjust ratios of flour, egg, water, etc. No flavor to speak of, but I don't find spinach adds much flavor either IMO. It's a pretty simple process.

Use the Microwave to Dry Your Herbs for Long-Lasting Intense Flavor

Microwaved rosemary powder makes the fastest (and brightest green) rosemary oil ever.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

Here's a tip for spices you may find in the cabinet that are still "usable" but you just forgot you had them: Hide them under a rock down the street from your house. If you don't find yourself walking down the street to go find them at 2 AM that week (because you just can't live without them), toss em.

*Bonus tip: this also works with relationships.

Bagna Cauda: The Buttery Italian Vegetable Dip That Deserves a Place on Your Steak

Love bagna cauda. I've actually served it as a warm vinaigrette on bitter greens (frisee and radicchio) and burrata. Caesar and lyonnaise inspired.
Anchovies; sea bacon. Burrata; cow egg.

How to Make Uovo in Raviolo: Showstopping Runny Egg Yolk Ravioli

@Burger: Correction; duck eggs are great for everything egg-related (or not).

How to Make Uovo in Raviolo: Showstopping Runny Egg Yolk Ravioli

@Kenji: Exactly what I was thinking. And let it brown a bit too so it's not just boiled/poached, for added flavor. OR, embrace the forgotten boiled egg. Runny yolks get all the attention. haha. Maybe shoot for soft boiled even...?

Worth experimenting with, though.

How to Make Uovo in Raviolo: Showstopping Runny Egg Yolk Ravioli

I keep meaning to attempt a scotch egg ravioli; same method here but using sausage instead of ricotta. With a sort of breadcrumb gremolata to mimic the fried part of the scotch egg.

...because...that's why.

Hey Chef, What Are Some Savory Uses for Jam?

Strange that chutney wasn't's sort of jam-like depending on the ingredients and variety.

Caponata: The Flavor-Packed 30-Minute Sicilian Dish We Should All Be Eating More Of

@Kenji: Ever have caponata served with chopped HB eggs? It's a nice finishing touch.

@elle; Dried currants or even dried cranberries would probably be good. Although leaving it out wouldn't be the end of the world; many caponata recipes out there sans raisins.

The Food Lab Redux: Use Science to Bake the Best Apple Pie

I think a cherry pie would be better suited for the pie crust virgins...just sayin.

Forget Al Dente: Braised Green Beans Are Where It's At

Love when science and cooking come together, and the food still tastes (and looks) like food...not a foam or a gel or a friggin sphere...

Very cool.

Toasting Nuts? The Microwave is Your Best Friend

I've seen this technique too. Works in a pinch.

I've read also (I think over at ChefSteps) that toasting nuts for a longer time in a low temp oven develops better flavor and results in a more "toasty" nut. Your thoughts?

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Hambone: "Daaaaamn, did ya see that shih tzu that just walked by?
Sherlock: "Ehhh, I seen better."

This Easy Make-Ahead Chickpea Salad With Cumin and Celery is Even Better the Second Day

@Burger: No, paper cuts are the worst. Celery is a vegetable.

Easy Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Bacon

Bacon is the ugly person who has all the game and sex appeal to get whoever they want to go home with them that night. (And makes them breakfast in the morning...hah, see what I did there?)

Insanity Burger From 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

I was actually being sarcastic (in response to @Jacques's comment).

The guy's a chef, not the president. Let him be a chef. The book is "comfort food", not "healthy food".

That said, the burger is a little much (in my opinion).

Insanity Burger From 'Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food'

....And obviously, the title of this book is called "Guide to Healthy Cafeteria Food"..right? Just checking..

.... :)

Nice and Easy Sautéed Zucchini, Summer Squash, and Cherry Tomatoes with Chilies and Herbs

Yup; start hard, fast, and rough...then finish nice and easy. Ya know, when sauteing zucchini (obviously).. ;)

The Food Lab Turbo: Why You Should Really Be Grilling Your Cabbage

@foodlabfollower: You're not adding pig! Bacon, pancetta, or pork drippings (from a chop or roast). Lol (seriously, though).
Also, apples and red cabbage are a classic pairing; their sweetness (or tart acidity from Granny's) counters bitterness of the cabbage. Fennel is another good match. This is more for a braised cabbage dish,

*Trick: A teeny (tiny) pinch of baking soda helps break it down quickly and neutralizes the bitterness (speeds up the Maillard reaction).

The Food Lab Turbo: Why You Should Really Be Grilling Your Cabbage

....Wait, think a grilled cabbage coleslaw would work?...hmm..gotta experiment with that one.

The Food Lab Turbo: Why You Should Really Be Grilling Your Cabbage

@Kenji: I'm wondering (what's your opinion?) if weeping (salting) the cabbage for a bit before grilling would make any interesting differences for this application? Maybe soften it and take away some of that cabbage-y bite, thereby leaving you with a more concentrated, sweet, cabbage interior. I'm thinking about like when you did your post on coleslaw...(I use that technique all the time). I do it when I grill things like zucchini, too; to rid it of some of its water - grills up better (IMO). Thoughts?

Ideas in Food vs. The Turkey Club Sandwich

@frackle: That a roundabout way of giving (weird) sex advice?

Ideas in Food vs. The Turkey Club Sandwich

No frilled toothpicks = no club. Obviously

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 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 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.|_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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