Welcome to The Blog, the Serious Eats group blog for these troubling times.
Everyone at Serious Eats, from the front-end dev to the recipe devs, is helping to populate this page, which we plan to update as often as possible, even on weekends. We hope that any readers who come by will participate, too. If you have a question, find something interesting you want to share, or just want to drop us a line, email us! We'd love to hear from you.
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Good Bye, Elazar!
We're very sad to announce that Elazar, our associate editor par excellence, is moving onwards and upwards, and this is his final day at Serious Eats.
Elazar first cold-pitched us in mid-2017 with the idea of revealing what goes on behind the scenes at a popular all-you-can-eat Indian restaurant. It was a lovely piece, and all of us on staff were impressed by his abilities. It didn't hurt that he had a formidable resume—he'd published a cookbook, and had bylines in major national publications—although we all found it a little puzzling, if not intimidating, since he was all of 20 years old at the time.
We subsequently offered Elazar an internship, and we discovered that he might as well have been engineered in Overlord Ed's basement to replace the rest of us, since he seemed capable of doing anything—he could write, he could cook, he could report, he could research—and we quickly brought him on staff.
You've probably already have seen some of his work, whether it's the profile of the people behind Top Taste, a wonderful Jamaican restaurant in Kingston, NY, that just recieved a James Beard nomination, or his video profiles of Shaquanda Coco Mulatta, "New York’s (drag) queen of hot sauce," or Yemi Amu, the founder of the largest aquaponic farm in New York City, or the many, many articles he's freelanced for other publications while simultaneously working at Serious Eats.
But Elazar did so much more work than that for our site, a lot of it hidden from readers. And he was always up for doing things outside of his comfort zone, like running taste tests for store-bought queso, or organizing and executing our testing to find the best universal wine glass. Beyond that, he was always a pleasure to have around the office, despite his weird predilection for sweet potatoes and mayo, both individually and in combination.
If you're a regular consumer of various food media, you'll likely see his byline frequently in the future, but if you'd like to keep tabs on all the interesting things he's going to be doing, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Goodbye, Elazar! You'll be missed by all of us, and we're not just saying that because we'll probably be working for you in 10 years!
No words, other than "dang."
Pupdate 2: Pup Harder
Tag yourself. I'm the missing picture of Elazar mimicking his dog's pose.
4/9 14:20 (nice)
What We've Been Making
Busy as bees, we Serious Eats staffers are:
Daniel DK fried up some whiting he picked up at a farmer's market. "Ended up over-cooking a little," he says, "and they didn't stay together perfectly...But still really delicious!"
He also put together a bowl of Sasha's creamy orecchiette, but since he was working with what he had, he subbed in some leeks and a handful of Brussels sprouts for some of the vegetables.
Paul has become a mazemen master, apparently. Look at that bacon and egg mazemen!
Sho slow-roasted a crispy pork shoulder and then, he says, ate all the crackling off the top by himself.
Ariel made Daniel's gnocchi and dressed it with a sauce of garlic, shallots, and yellow tomato passata.
John made a batch of cheddar drop biscuits, and they look perfect in that basket.
Vicky made Stella's bran muffins with raisins, but she substituted the yogurt with mushed bananas, and she should send everyone on staff one each, please.
And Kristina stayed up and did some late-night baking: "Finally made that Alison Roman lemony turmeric tea cake that's been everywhere."
Views From Self-Isolation
The Counter, which has been doing some amazing work covering the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the various industries integral to the sale and distribution of food in the United States, has begun publishing mini personal essays about how people are eating in a time of self-isolation. Well worth bookmarking/signing up for updates.
1/sauté few lardons,1 🥕
5 cloves🧄 & 1🧅 for 5 mins on med 🔥
2/add 1lb dry lentils & 2qts💦
3/simmer for +-30 mins / til lentils are soft
4/season salmon w s+p & sauté in hot nonstick pan w veg oil til colored(-+ 2 mins)
5/Flip & cook for 2mins for med-rare
6/Plate & ENJOY! pic.twitter.com/ud6AGUxFUe
— Eric Ripert (@ericripert) April 9, 2020
We've been loving the simple recipes Chef Eric Ripert's been posting on social media.
Good Morning! Dynamite Edition
The opening credits to Napoleon Dynamite are pretty much my weekly quarantine diet: pic.twitter.com/g1drSfdFtf
— Credits Score Podcast (@CreditsScore) March 30, 2020
And Now We Have Hot Dogs
View this post on Instagram
What street foods were popular in New York City but are no longer available? 🥧 ☕ 🦀 🍭 At one time city people could buy almost anything they wanted to eat on the street from cart. You could get candy, coffee, nuts, sweet pies, savory pies, fried clams, oysters, and soft-shell crabs. But then more affordable restaurants came along and many of the carts disappeared. 🍦 🌽 🍉 Then treats replaced that—things like ice cream, hot corn, and watermelon and they're available from carts to this day. #MuseumFromHome #NYHistoryHere 📷 Irving Browning, Peddler selling pickles on street, New York City, c. 1930s Robert L. Bracklow, (detail) Dorlon's on wheels' mobile oyster vendor, possibly owned by one of the Dorlons of Fulton Market, New York City, ca. 1890-1900 Irving Browning, Bronx Ice Cream Co. horse-drawn cart at unidentified sporting event, circa 1920-1938 Irving Browning, Street peddler selling baked apples and sweet potatoes, East Side, New York City, c. 1920s Andreas Feininger, Street vendor selling vegetables from a wagon in Harlem, New York City, 1940
The first sign of American decline was when the street carts selling fried clams, oysters, and soft-shell crabs went out of style. WHY?
What we wouldn't give for a platter of fried clams, raw oysters, and a few soft-shells fried in brown butter RIGHT NOW!
A Recipe and a Poem
Hungry? Welcome to O, Live Garden! Today, poet and essayist @NifMuhammad has paired a Lemon Parmesan Risotto with a poem by Brigit Pegeen Kelly. See full poem and recipe here ->https://t.co/TZoARnsS01
As we like to say, “If you’re here, you’re famished.” pic.twitter.com/SeNT8YyGQo
— O, Miami Poetry Fest (@omiamifestival) April 8, 2020
Pupdate: Together Apart
Well who do we have here? From left to right, top to bottom: Barnaboo, Steve-o, Mattie-the-dog-named-by-Maggie, Headless Pipman, Toby "Come With Me If You Want to Live" Tobinator, and Hazelazar.
Quarantine Is the Mother of Invention
Butter chicken pizza, y'all. (Someone, somewhere, please try a butter chicken soufflé.)
Oyster Sauce and Other Pantry Recommendations
Reader Judy writes:
A number of your recipes include oyster sauce. I don’t own it but am about to order some. Would it be possible for you to recommend whatever brand is preferred by your cooks?
We recommend the original oyster sauce, made by Lee Kum Kee!
If you have other questions about brand recommendations for pantry staples commonly used in Chinese cuisine, here's our guide.
The Life-Changing Magic of [Benign Activity]
Hazel Cills over at Jezebel has some thoughts about that new pandemic thing everyone's doing.
Pasta Merch for a Cause
Here are some examples (modeled for us by Vicky and her pierogi-whiz mom) of the pasta-themed merch we designed that are on sale at Society6. All proceeds go directly to World Central Kitchen, the not-for-profit founded by Chef José Andrés, which is devoted to providing meals to the food insecure in the wake of natural disasters.
Good Morning! Cheddar Drop Biscuit Edition
Here are those cheddar drop biscuits Ariel made on Twitch the other day. You can make the dry mix beforehand and portion it out however you want and stash it in the fridge, so when you want biscuits all you need to do is add buttermilk and bake 'em.
What You're Making
Reader Christopher sends along this snap of delicious-looking pie, with this note:
"Pepperoni pizza I made with my own, six year old sourdough starter, uncooked sauce made with Sclafani crushed tomatoes and Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba, among other things, Antimo Caputo 00 Americana flour, Grande 50/50 part-skim mozzarella and provolone cheese, and hand-cut Vermont Smoke and Cure pepperoni, baked on a Baking Steel in my home oven. It’s been a six year plus journey with numerous reformulations and ingredient tweeks, but I think I’m finally moving to the right from the origin on the Dunning-Kruger curve."
Point: Amy Martin says buffets are disgusting and it's good that fears related to coronavirus have exposed them for the hotbeds of contagions they really are.
Counterpoint: Buffets are amazing. (Except for the chocolate fountains, those are disgusting.)
"I Am a God"
NPR with a report on how the resident of Naples have taken to hanging "solidarity baskets" out of their windows.
Make Banana Bread
The boss-man Ed writes:
"Vicky [Ed's wife, not Vicky our visual director] made banana bread over the weekend. She is an excellent baker. Vicky used a recipe she has had since college (that would be in the '70s, if you must know). Banana bread was a college baking staple back then. Is it still? No matter. It was delicious and soothing and comforting in equal measure. We brought still-warm slices along for an appropriately social-distanced walk in the park with friends. The walk and the resulting interaction (even though we were at least the required six feet apart) were just as soothing and comforting as the banana bread. We were all wearing masks, but they didn't get in the way at all. To encourage all Serious Eaters everywhere to do something like this, here's a photo of the banana bread and the recipe, which most assuredly does not adhere to the Serious Eats recipe-writing guidelines. It is, after all, from 1973. Note: I had originally asked her to make Stella's wonderful banana bread recipe, but alas, we didn't have all the ingredients required."
Banana Bread (circa 1973)
- ½ cup butter or olive oil
- 1 cup sugar or ½ cup honey
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3 medium bananas (1-2 cups mashed)
- 1 cup regular flour, sifted
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (can use regular flour instead)
- 1/3 cup hot water (do not use if you use olive oil instead of butter and honey instead of sugar)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
Melt butter and blend sugar in. Or just mix olive oil and sugar and/or honey together. Mix in beaten eggs and mashed bananas, blending until smooth. Sift flour again with salt and baking soda. Stir in whole wheat flour. Add dry ingredients alternatively with hot water. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 9X5 loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 70 minutes. Slide knife into center to see if it’s done. May need to bake 10-20 minutes more.
Good Morning! Breakfast Pizza Edition
Niki's sister-in-law, Anna, has been doing some important homework. In her own words: "Thank you Serious Eats for helping me perfect my quarantine breakfast pizza."
You're welcome, Anna.
Cheddar Bae Biscuits! On Twitch!
Kenji Can Make a Sandwich, as a Treat
The first bite is pretty hilarious.
Pet Break, Pierogi Edition
Maggie's dog, Mattie*, got some pierogi, at least.
* Maggie claims she didn't name Mattie, but we do not believe that for one second.
Mama Knows Best
Vicky's mom made a ton of her famous-among-Serious-Eats-staffers-and-alumni pierogi, which is really cruel if you think about the fact that we can't eat any of the delicious dang things.
Argentine Pickled Eggplant, Ctd.
Reader Erika responds to our previous call for information about pickled eggplant, the Argentinian way:
"There's a Spanish language food site I've browsed through called Recetas Argentinas which has a recipe for pickled eggplant. I can't say I've ever tried it personally, but James might want to give it a shot! The Google Chrome translation from Spanish into English is reasonably good."
Dos, Por Favor
Niki made some fine-looking tacos.
Here's the chile verde recipe.
Michelle Chen writes for Open City a moving obituary for Pearl River Mart, an "Asian-themed" bazaar that's closing after 44 years in New York's Chinatown.
All in the Family
Sasha tells us his family has been on a Serious Eats recipe-making tear. Nadia, his sister, made the workhorse white bread loaf again (“this bread is to die for... amazing recipe”), and followed it up with some buttermilk pancakes (“v delicious”).
And his mom, Katherine, made his pasta with ‘nduja sugo (“maybe the best pasta I've ever made”).
Our brand new social media editor, Jina (welcome, Jina!), also got in on the buttermilk pancake game, although she went for the classic "Pac-Man" shot.
We'll Make a Mazemen of You Yet
Paul gamely volunteered to cross-test a forthcoming "easy" ramen recipe Sho's working on for noodles that can be used for mazemen or ramen, and he did a bang up job!
As he says, "Lil thick, but I’m so proud."
We are, too, Paul! (He ended up making the bacon and egg mazemen.)
Sho says the recipe is a wetter version of the original ramen recipe, made with just all-purpose flour instead of the bread flour and vital wheat gluten, 44g of water per serving, and 1.5g of baked baking soda per serving.
Argentine Pickled Eggplant?
Reader James Bounds (not to be confused with 007), writes to ask for help:
Quick question. My wife and I were down visiting friends in Argentina in February. We were at a ranch somewhere between Bariloche and San Marten. Wherever the hell we were, one afternoon we were served this wonderful pickled eggplant appetizer. I asked our guide if it was a complicated recipe. He chuckled and with a perfect South American delivery, rattled off the ingredients in a couple seconds and laughed.
I've been attempting to recreate that dish almost weekly since with very minimal success. Is this dish on your radar? Do you have a recipe that can point me in the right direction? I'm pretty much just flailing at this point on my own.
We polled the culinary team, but this isn't on our radar. Anyone got any leads?
The End of Influencers
Kenzie Bryant at Vanity Fair surveys the wreckage self-aggrandizement in the coronavirus era has wrought, so far.
"It’s hard to muster too much sympathy, though."
Good Morning! Philippa's Mum Edition
Reader Philippa sent Daniel a snap of what she made using his French onion soup recipe, along with the following note:
I shared a picture of my French onion soup I made in quarantine from your recipe (minus chives) to my Mum whilst we are social distancing! She said it looks just as good as a recipe book picture & bet me it could feature on the recipe page.
She bet me £20 so I’m sharing it with you so see if we can get it online 😀!
Not on the recipe page itself, maybe, but surely this is close enough to get you that 20 quid, Philippa!
Sunday Reading: Missing the Marketplaces
"...but meanwhile they had finally battled a way between the bodies, and the crowd, like the thinning lights on the border of the square, became sparse at last, losing itself in the darkness and disappearing, and the odor of it, although it still smouldered on, was replaced by the slimy, foully-glistening stench of the fish-market stalls that hedged the harbor here, quietly deserted at this evening hour. Sweetish but none the less foul, the smell of the fruit-market annexed itself, full of fermentation, the odor of rosy grapes, wax-yellow plums, earth-dark figs, golden apples being indistinguishable, indistinguishable through their common decay, and the stone squares of the pavement gleamed damply from being trodden on and besmeared with slime; very far behind now lay the center of the plaza, very far the ships at the dock, very far the sea, very far, though not entirely lost; the human howling there was only a distant murmur, and of the music of the fanfare there was nothing more to be heard.
"With great assurance, as if accurately acquainted with the neighborhood, the boy had steered his followers through the confusion of stalls and finally entered the district of the storage houses and dockyards which with dim, unlit buildings adjoined the market-place, in the darkness more to be surmised than seen, and extended along for a considerable distance. Again the odors changed; one could smell the whole produce of the country, one could smell the huge masses of comestibles that were stored here, stored for barter within the empire but destined, either here or there after much buying and selling, to be slagged through these human bodies and serpentine intestines, one could smell the dry sweetness of the grain, stacks of which reared up in front of the darkened silos waiting to be shoveled within, one could smell the dusty dryness of the corn-sacks, the wheat-sacks, the barley-sacks, the spelt-sacks, one could smell the sourish mellowness of the oil-tuns, the oil-jugs, the oil-casks and also the biting acridity of the wine stores that stretched along the docks..."
Part of a longer, beautiful description of the market quarter in the port city of Brundisium as the dying poet Virgil is carried from a ship newly arrived to his lodgings in the center of the city. From The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch, translated by Jean Starr Untermeyer.
The Cheddar Saga, Continued
Commenters are weighing in on the Big Bag o' Cheddar problem.
Grilled cheese sandwiches, cheesy mashed potatoes, broccoli cheese soup, canadian cheddar soup, vegetables with cheese sauce, omelettes, quisadillas, enchiladas, geez what can’t you do with cheese?
Vacuum seal your shredded cheese in one pound bags. Get as much air out as possible. Stick them out of the way somewhere in the ‘fridge. Yes, they’re flat and squished. When you need to use some, just cut off the top of the bag as close to the seal as you can. Fluff up the cheese with your hand, take out as much as you want and reseal the bag. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer GET ONE. In the meantime, you can use zip bags, pushing out as much air as possible, then zip seal them. THEN get a straw, open the seal barely enough to get the straw in, squeeze the straw and suck the air out as much as possible, then still squeezing the straw, pull it out and sealing at the same time.
Two days ago, I took out a 2 lb. brick of Tillamook medium cheddar cheese that I had vacuum packed and dated (drum roll, please) 11/18/2015 and put in the back of the deli drawer in the fridge. I opened it up, cut back some of the wax and sliced (crumbled) off a chunk then I resealed the brick back up making sure to get out all the air. The cheese melted in our mouths. Wonderful things can be done with a FoodSaver and cheese. You can keep it forever.
Get a gallon sized vacuum bag and put any leftover cheese in it. Seal it high on the top. Cut it open to add more leftover cheese (and it doesn’t have to be the same kind). Vacuum seal it. Keep doing this until you have a good amount of cheese, shred it all and then make crazy mixed up macaroni and cheese. Oh yum.
Inside-out grilled cheese/quesadillas, nacho cheese (mornay sauce with extra milk or the evaporated milk+cornstarch), gritz, and my favorite as the cheese edge on a foolproof pan or a detroit-style pizza. You can use your mozz for the pizzas, but for the edge I slap some grated cheddar on the edges, sometimes tucking it behind the crust.
You can definitely grate and freeze the cheese (or freeze if already grated). If you use cheese a lot you don’t even have to bother sucking out the air, just squeeze as much out as you can. I do this all the time with pizzas.
You can also do savory oatmeal too with bacon, cheddar, and chives/green onion. You’d still need to salt, maybe some hot sauce. Oatmeal made me finish my 3 lb block of cheddar real quick.
Thanks! These are great ideas!
Ignore the Bread-Bakers
If you want. Or, as Aisha S. Ahmad writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education, "[I]gnore everyone who is posting productivity porn on social media right now. It is OK that you keep waking up at 3 a.m. It is OK that you forgot to eat lunch and cannot do a Zoom yoga class. It is OK that you have not touched that revise-and-resubmit in three weeks."
Good advice! Focus on your needs. And although you don't have to learn how to bake bread, do try to remember to eat, preferably something that gives you pleasure.
Good Morning! Let the Kids Stay Up Late Edition
Reader Robyn sends over this snap of a beautiful vanilla soufflé, with the note:
"Last night I made a vanilla soufflé, used Julia's recipe, let the kids stay up way too late to help me eat it. It was gooood."
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