Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Culinary Adventure Society

Insanely fresh fish and fried chicken in St. Lucia after a long hike in the rainforest.

Win a Free Organic D'Artagnan Turkey

Brussel sprouts with bacon! I can't believe these sound good.

Cook the Book: 'Urban Italian'

Pasta with coconut milk, peanut butter and bacon (and chili flakes if you want spice). LOVE this dish, even though it looks revolting.

Santa brought me truffle butter and demi-glace!

Chicken demi-glace. I meant to specify beef to Santa, but am excited nonetheless. Thanks for the ideas!

Giving the gift of salsa

Based on these recommendations, I may give canning a try! So many gift foods I want to do this year (mostly to have the excuse of tasting them myself). Next stop: pralines. thanks all!

Giving the gift of salsa

When I say canning, I mean being able to jar it properly....or, um, you know.

Weekend Book Giveaway: 'The Saucier's Apprentice'

When I lived in a group house in DC, our oven spent three or four months having temperamental fits. These inevitably occurred whenever I was having people over for dinner. Probably the most embarassing was the uncooked chicken served with finesse to my roommate's new girlfriend, but the cookies we ended up microwaving run a close second

Ending lobster phobia and other seafood goals

Hurray! Thank you everyone! I made a trip to the store tonight and took my first sea food steps (frozen peeled shrimp and some frozen lobster meat). I am so excited, I can barely decide what to cook!

surplus OJ?

I tried a Bobby Flay (I think) recipe recently in which you, while roasting potatoes, saute garlic and onion, deglaze with white wine, then add about half a cup of orange juice to the pan. You reduce this to a syrupy mixture and then pour it over the potatoes when serving. It was very different but awesome. I think I might recommend adding something spicy to the mixture (like crushed red pepper).

Southern Food - Recipes and tips please!

I make both of those without much thought of a recipe, but when you get the hang of it, try these variations:

1) Add some onions and garlic to the oil you're frying the chicken in
2) After getting a good crust on the chicken, take it out, let it cool, raise the oil temp again and put it back in the pan - extra crispy!
3) Use different breadings - ritz or cheese crackers, panko, regular crumbs, grated cheese...
4) Oven fry - in butter.

For mac and cheese, remember that everything is better with bacon. Or tomato. Or hot sauce. Or deep fried.

Pork Chops

Pound them thin, bread in crumbs and parmesan, fry briefly and add a squeeze of lemon juice. After buying two giant value packs of pork chops (for people who generally don't eat much pork) earlier this year, this simple recipe saved us from drowning in pig.

Cook the Book: 'Screen Doors and Sweet Tea'

Fanta. After hiking.

How was your school's hot lunch?

Chicken rings. They were chicken nuggets in the shape of rings, and they haunt me to this day. Best was Fridays, when you could order them with a softball sized buttery roll, mashed potatoes and gravy, separately or as a sandwich. I remember visiting high school during college just to try them again. So good!

Also, the best egg roll I have ever eaten was served by the junk food line in my cafeteria.

From elementary school, I remember the pizza, which came practically cheeseless (loved that) and carrot and raisin "salad."

Cook the Book: 'Top Chef'

Something with bacon. Anything with bacon. Who doesn't like bacon?

Cook the Book: 'Mario Batali Italian Grill'

Lemon and lime (I learned my acids from Mario).

Cook the Book: Lidia's Italy

Something people don't expect home cooks to make, like a lengthy, elaborate mole.

Leftover Asparagus-What to make?

Definitely agree on the risotto! Throw in some bacon/prosciutto and parmesan too. Mm, tasty.

Tired of boring pork chops

Giadia has an amazing pork chop recipe that involves coating thin pork chops with bread crumbs and parmesan, pan frying and serving with lemon wedges. It is phenomenal. I had a freezer full of chops and no desire to eat them again; this recipe saved the deal.


Ravioli (like butternut squash) with a butter and sage sauce (improvise for infinite variety with lemon, garlic, nutmeg, etc), but just the simple combo of butter and sage is delicious.

Cook the Book: 'Roast Chicken and Other Stories'

The first whole roast chicken I ever made was The Chicken Who Would Not Thaw. Admittedly, we should have dug it outof the freezer a little earlier, but removing the innard took pots of boiling water, a several knives, a giant saute pan, predictable bouts of tug of war that ended with limbs akimbo and the chicken on the floor, and far more time with my hand up a very cold chicken rear than feels healthy. I rubbed it in salt and herbs, stuffed it with an onion and it was heavenly.

Ground lamb, growing lonely and cold in the freezer

Wow, it appears I'm going to have to acquire more lamb! These all sound fantastic. I think I am either going to go with lamb burgers, or almondjoy's delicious sounding Indian/Pakistani recipe for this round. The burger with boursin sounds fantastic (what doesn't sound great with boursin?). Lambie-pies I'll save for the next time we get out the grill--come on spring!

Recipe ideas for someone new to the US?

The Midwest? Introduce her to American casseroles (or the aptly named hot dish). Something with cream of mushroom soup and some Minnesota wild rice. The casseroles I ate tons of in my grad schools days in Minneapolis were usually simple to make and build off of, on top of being served at every community gathering across the Midwest. It would be easy for her to add more familiar ingredients and create something Midwest-caudorean.

Ketchup On Burgers...

Also a Texan, and ketchup is not only on every burger I eat, but on the side in abundance for easy dipping. But I also add mayo (to fries and hot dogs too). Maybe "Texas burgers" are supposed to have barbecue sauce? I sometimes add green chilis (more New Mexico than Texas).

I hate lettuce on burgers. I just don't understand the point. What is it adding to my experience besides some leafy greens inevitably hanging out of my mouth after I take a bite?

Green beans...what's your favorite fixer-upper?

Brown sugar and melted butter. As much as possible of both without actually stepping into the dessert lane (or really, why stop yourself?). I toss the beans with these ingredients, throw them in the oven for half an hour or so, and pure bliss!

I ate the Juicy Lucy!

My first Juicy Lucy experience was the first time I really knew that commercials worked. There was an ad for the Groveland Tap on some local channel (a REALLY bad ad) with up close and personal video of JLs. Three minutes later I was in my car, twenty minutes later I had my first bite of cheesy goodness. It didn't rock my world, but it did cheese it up a lot.

How to eat on Top Chef?

Rumor has it that Top Chef will be coming to my fair city next season, and I want the cheftestants to cook for me. How to do this? Given that the last few seasons have had a lot of "Top Caterer" competitions, there should theoretically be several opportunities (my top choice would be Restaurant Wars!).

To anyone who is familiar with the show or has been lucky enough to participate in one of their events, how did you do it? Nepotism, ardent stalking, being at the right place at the right time? My friends and I aren't necessarily aiming at being on TV, but just having the opportunity to see rising young chefs in action and getting to try their food. Getting to run into guest judges like Anthony Bourdain or Eric Ripert (or the usual judges) would be an amazing bonus.

V-Day Hole in the Wall in NYC?

Last minute trip to Manhattan this weekend. Odds of finding a nice restaurant reservation are nil, not to mention that the idea makes me a little terrified (hordes and hordes of dewy-eyed diners, "special" menus, etc).

So, we'll have to feed ourselves somehow, and think this is a fine time to seek out a tasty local hole in the wall that isn't trendy, talked about or overfull in order to increase the likelihood we'll find sustenance. Prefer something unique to NY, but willing to do anything!

We're staying near Times Square, but are willing to travel up and down Manhattan for the greasy, the spicy, and the uninterpretable menus.


(PS: we actually would like to attempt some fine dining for lunch on Saturday, but same last minute problem -- any recs for a place that would be likely to have seats open? Sky is the limit).

Giving the gift of salsa

I'd love to gift homemade salsa as a gift this year. Problem: no canning equipment. So, a few questions:

Is this possible without making a huge investment in canning equipment?
If I just refrigerated it without properly canning it, how long would it last (safely, tastewise, etc)?

Question applies for both cooked and uncooked salsa.

Thank you!!

Ending lobster phobia and other seafood goals

I've eaten lobster once. It was at a fondue place and the lobster, you might say, was naked. Nothing about it looked like lobster - shell was gone, no claws, no tail, just hunks of meat. It was fabulous, and I want it again - except I have a lifelong aversion to seafood.

(that in itself is a long story and relates to Jacques Cousteau in 6th grade, but suffice to say it's less the taste than the looks or concept of seafood that bother me).

Braving cooking expeditions involving live lobsters, removing shells, or in any way associating with something that really looks like a lobster may defeat me. That said, I think that if I take in in small steps of taste and simple preparations, I could eventually overcome my aversion. Are there ways to purchase or cook lobster in baby steps? Frozen meat, shelled lobster, parts of lobster...etc? (this is silly and embarassing question, but remember that I've avoided grocery seafood sections like the plague).

I'd like to similarly be able to approach other "scary" seafoods like crab, mussels, shrimp and clams - any recommendations for easy acquisition or less than terrifying preparation?

(apologies for two posts in a row, I attempted this one yesterday and crashed).

Carne al disco - Bourdain inspiration

(I posted this to Chowhound with no luck)

On Monday's No Reservations rerun (set in Argentina), Bourdain, producery Tracey and a bunch of paragliders ate what looked like a simple but fabulous meal cooked in a "disk" over a fire. The ingredients I saw were oil, beef, onions, garlic and peppers, but I'm almost certain I missed something because the color of the sauce at the end made it look like other things had been added (potatoes? cream?). They ate it on bread and I watched, drooling and wildly jealous.

Google turns up a little, but no recipes that I could see (or translate). Has anyone heard of or eaten this dish, or was it just good TV? Any idea what else they threw in the pan? Should I just buy my ticket to Argentina now?

Whole Foods - mandatory bags?

A food-shopping question...

We've heard of Whole Foods banning plastic and embracing recycled/paper bags. However, last night I was at the store and told the cashier that I didn't need a bag for my purchase (one easily portable item), I could just carry it. She insisted that I had to carry it out in a bag, that it was store policy. Anyone else have this experience? I've heard of it at retail stores like Best Buy (no good reason there either), but it was a little odd coming from a store that just got so much press for being environmentally friendly.


Seeking enchilada recipes to quench my cravings for San Antonio cuisine. I make a mean sour cream chicken enchilada, but would like to expand my horizons a little. Bonus points for vegetarian enchiladas, or meatie-versions with no/optional dairy ingredients.

Ground lamb, growing lonely and cold in the freezer

I bought ground lamb for my one and only ground lamb recipe (sauteed with rice, cinnamon, pinenuts, all spice, garlic and onion). I bought too much. The remainder stares at me mournfully when I open the freezer, complaining of neglect. What do to with it?

(I have thought of moussaka and I'm not sold. But I can be persuaded).

Food in the theme of "double"?

My book club just finished "The Double Bind" and our next meeting requires food in the theme of double (or twice, or anything related to two). Double fudge brownies, twice baked potatoes, two-layer cake - those are obvious choices. Any other recipe suggestions for a savory dish? I am particularly in favor of double frying, but not sure how this works.

(the book is excellent, by the way!)

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