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    No pressure cooker recipes although many are posted on Serious Eats.
    An excellent book so far. I am actually reading it.
    Great section on kitchen equipment, How to prep/chop etc. Lots of recipes, could use more pictures but still a fair amount. About 2000 pages so the paper copy must be a bit hefty.
    I am a big fan of kenji and many of these articles/recipes I have seen before and made quite a few successfully. Still I am enjoying the book and trying not to skip around too much.


    I’ve ordered this book from the library, but it will be a couple of months at least before I get it.

    You might already have read about his cryo-blanching approach. Maybe an option for your midnight vegetable cravings?


    Here’s the link I meant to include: http://www.splendidtable.org/story/3-techniques-to-improve-your-home-cooking

    He explains using cryo-blanching + microwave to cook vegetables. I’ll give this approach a try with the broccoli I froze from summer.


    Hi Suzanne
    I did do the cryo-blanched fries last year and did not notice a big difference. Was cooking for 6 so having them cut up and frozen was good.
    I am still reading the book (at page 1772 I think).
    Did the pasta presoaked linguini
    Worked a treat, but I had some leftover and the noodles just kept on growing. Wasn’t pretty. Probably should have cooked it longer to stunt their growth:)

    I am a big Kenji fan and subscribe to his stuff. My plan is to try some of his and other pan sauces to up the flavour.

    Might not take that long from the library, lots of people won’t want to cart that 6 pounder home with them. And perhaps your library will get more copies and/or the ebook version.


    I saw this in a bookshop today. My wallet is now lighter. Sigh.
    It looks excellent and down to earth. Maybe we should recommend it to @guy. He might actually start using some of his cooking gear.

    I wish I could say the same about the SeriousEats website. Whenever I have gone there lately I have been inundated with advertising to the point I have given up trying for what I was looking for. (SV BBQ pork ribs)

    Helen Adams

    I gather you bought the paper edition? I have the ebook and have pretty well read it all.

    I have a few ads in a sidebar usually but not a one today. Wonder why. I subscribe and get an email every day or so with 5 or 6 assorted recipes pictured. Sometime I am interested sometimes not. Kenji isn’t perfect but I admire his stubbornness.

    My replacement Anova arrived today so I am going to have another kick at sous vide pork chops.


    Yes the paper copy. It was very much an impulse purchase. I was on my way to have another look at the Breville PC when I walked past a bookshop. Saw it and remembered your recommendation. I didn’t actually make it to the PC. I was killing time while my uncle was at the doctor. (regular visit – he doesn’t drive so I take him) I got a phonecall to say he was out just as I got to the PC.

    I have now tried the Pork ribs twice. Both times the long slow variant. Though the second time I went with [email protected]º as it suited my timing better. I wasn’t entirely happy with Kenji’s flavourings, so I went with Meathead’s Memphis dust the second time and did my own mash up for sauce. Loosely based on his Kansas City BBQ sauce, though using ingredients I had to hand, so it got tamarind pulp and fish sauce but not steak sauce. I added liquid smoke and salt to the rub as I was marinating a la Kenji. Final result was brilliant. I just hope I can duplicate the sauce next time.


    This is what I am getting. Ads vary but they pop up again about 30 seconds after clearing them. It makes the site pretty much unusable.

    Helen Adams

    I tried 3 computers and 2 browsers and saw no ads like that. The only reference to a similar occurrence I could find was from 2011. Pretty sure these ads are not originating at serious eats. You have probably tried all the obvious stuff like clearing cache and deleting cookies etc. and a pop up blocker. Perhaps try a different browser just to see or use a library computer.

    I bought some Marmite which I know is a very Australian thing. Haven’t tried it yet. It is talked up big in the book.

    Laura Pazzaglia

    It could be a new “takeover” ad product from Google – if they are using Adsense. I enabled it on this website a couple of weeks ago. They promise they won’t happen often and they’re easy to close.

    I never get to see them because they rarely target readers internationally.

    Also, just to be safe, run a virus scan.




    @Laura, It was SeriousEats.com. Not here.

    No no no no no! Vegemite is Australian. Or was. It has been taken over by an American company. Marmite is English. And a very poor substitute.

    If you want a wonderful origin story for the stuff, may I recommend The Last Continent by the late and very much lamented Terry Pratchett.

    Laura Pazzaglia

    Yes, I mentioned that in case they’re using the same ad format. ; )



    Helen Adams

    Sorry Greg. Beer soup Eh? I now know more about vegemite and its cousins than I ever wanted to and I have yet to open the bottle. I got marmite because of the book but haven’t been eating much meat this past week or so. Wimpy stomach.

    @Laura. Pretty sure it isn’t AdSense or a takeover, but not 100%


    I thought this might be of interest to you Kenji fans.

    I prefer recipes that are terse, yet thorough, rather than full of ruminations. Guess I’m out of step with readers/cooks in this trend. But how nice to be cooking in an era where we can learn the “why” of cooking along with the “how” without becoming trained chefs. Thanks, in no small part, to Laura.

    Helen Adams

    I don’t mind the odd rumination. What I do like is pictures with brief explanations and what the ingredients really are if they are obscure.

    What I don’t like is repetitiveness and overused trendy words and catchphrases. Even Kenji does that on occasion.

    Helen Adams

    I tried the Marmite/soya/anchovy in a pork stew. Was very good. Pressure cooked the pork and aromatics zero minutes after browning etc. then slow cooked for 2 hours at approx. 150 degrees.. Moistest pork I have pressure cooked yet. Not saying perfection, but lovely.

    @Suzanne According to Kenji the Marmite etc. work well in vegan/vegetarian dishes giving them a more robust flavor. Mushroom risotto for instance.

    @Greg Vegemite is not as common in Canada as Marmite. But I found some and will try it. I am suspecting it will not be the same as Australian? Of course I could buy this one:) http://www.amazon.ca/Vegemite-Pot-950g-Made-Australia/dp/B00ZGTDTIA/ref=sr_1_7?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1445479372&sr=1-7&keywords=vegemite

    Off topic: Now you have me reading Terry Pratchett again. I knew there were a few I hadn’t read but was trying to save a few for my deathbed:)


    Helen, thanks for thinking of me. I’ve had some interest in trying Marmite in the past when it was called for in a recipe. By the time I located some, I’d figured out I don’t like the taste of nutritional yeast, which is used in many vegan meat substitutes. I vaguely recall that I noticed the primary ingredient in Marmite is some sort of yeast, and decided to take a pass. Am I correct in remembering it as yeast-based? It’s been years.

    After a year of trying/experimenting with vegan/vegetarian manufactured foods, I decided real food was far superior, and daily fish and the occasional poultry was a reasonable middle ground for what I was trying to do. Nevertheless, I’ll be interested in reading what Kenji has to say about products that boost umami in vegetarian dishes. I’m currently number 29 in the library queue for his book.


    Yes Marmite, like Vegemite and Promite, are yeast based. Used neat, they are definitely an acquired taste. I grew up with Vegemite sandwiches for school lunches. I wouldn’t do it to my own children.

    However, like anchovies, they can add a wonderful depth of flavour when used sparingly in a complex dish. Think bass line. The other herbs and spices provide the melody. I add Vegemite to most of my meatloaves.

    Helen Adams

    Shouldn’t take too long at 29. Who knows though. Searching marmite vegetarian on Serious Eats brings up a few recipes.

    I detest brewers yeast (would rather starve) but have never tried the flakes. Marmite is AFAIK, quite different though. More like Maggi seasoning or Better than Bouillon I believe. More of a flavour enhancer when cooking with it.

    I bought the marmite because Kenji is so strong on it (not that he is first with this) but didn’t get brave enough to try it until I cooked a frozen store bought salmon entrée which had yeast extract listed as an ingredient. Was wonderful. The best fish I have had in years including fresh caught and most high end restaurant. I tried some in a stew and was pretty darn good. Better than usual. Of course that may be all in my mind.
    People put it in a lot of things I would never think of. http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/marmite-recipes#.tcZlYvl1a


    Greg, I like anchovies in most recipes, so I’ll try to keep an open mind on Marmite/Vegemite. The word “glutamate” keeps coming to mind as I think about this. I recall glutamates are a source of savory flavors, and I think anchovies have them, or maybe it’s just fermented anchovies that have them. I wonder, do yeast additives have them? It would explain why yeast additives show up so much in vegetarian manufactured foods.

    Helen, I, too, find brewers yeast to be gaggy. And about your fabulous salmon: maybe if a food already has naturally occurring savory flavors, food producers don’t have to add as much yeast additive to improve the flavor, so it’s less likely to have that strong yeast taste. I’m guessing you have to add a lot more flavor enhancer to soy protein or wheat gluten to make them taste meaty. I find infrequent, small amounts of the real thing are more satisfying than quantities of fake meat products. Excepting, of course, fish, which I indulge in daily.


    I answered my own question. Take a look at paragraph 7.


    Thanks for that @Suzanne. A very interesting read. It seems that he Buddhists are tight yet again: all things in moderation.

    Suzanne Miller

    While I found a few articles that attribute the flavor-boosting quality of anchovies to glutamate, I also found this one that attributes it to “inosinate,” which the article says heightens the experience of glutamate.


    Helen Adams

    Interesting article. I have read quite a few along those lines. I am kind of ambivalent on food additives. Some I avoid like the plague, but many I will try in that elusive hunt for the perfect recipe. Likewise processed foods and condiments. Love my spices and seasonings though.

    This week it is veggies. Big sale coinciding with the feeling I am eating way to much protein. I enjoy my fish/meat/eggs/cheese etc. when I eat them but sometimes thinking about eating them makes me a bit uncomfortable, like I am full already even if I am hungry. So it is beets and turnips in the pressure cooker and some kind of broccoli and cauliflower casserole and pressure cooker oatmeal apple crisp.

    I did make Food Lab Ultra Gooey Stovetop Macaroni and cheese the other night. Very good. Froze most in serving portions took one out last night and reheated in toaster oven. Slightly drier but pretty much the same as when fresh.


    Greg, brings to mind the thrift and ingenuity of people living on the edge– the Chinese come to mind — who suffered so many famines — they didn’t see much meat in their future, so they came up with something inexpensive that tasted very close.

    Helen, I’ve avoided food additives as well. Since I’m used to home cooked meals, most manufactured foods have a chemical taste that is unappealing. I tried to keep an open mind when I experimented with fake meats, as their Ingredients lists tend to have a lot of additives. But when I cooked with fake meats, chemical flavors would bleed through whatever sauce or accompanying ingredients I made/used, spoiling the result.

    I appreciate the lightness one feels after a vegetarian meal. Sounds you know how to cook it when that’s what you want. A cookbook that I’m enjoying a lot this fall is “Ikaria” by Diane Kochilas. It’s not vegetarian, but it documents the foodways of poor, long-lived Greeks, so it ends up being mostly vegetarian. I’ve liked absolutely everything I’ve made from this book so far. I tend to have success with cookbooks grounded in an old food tradition. The ingredient combinations are so tried-and-true flavorful that it’s hard to wreck the result with distracted cooking.

    All, I wish I could figure out how to replace the flavor of pancetta/proscuitto. Italian recipes will often start with a saute of one of them with some aromatics, resulting in a rich-tasting soup/stew/sauce. I just read online that curing meat fully can result in around seven times more free glutamate in it. So that would be why recipes in which I replaced pancetta with pork belly did not come close to being as good. Pancetta is cured; fresh pork belly is not. I miss the days when a simple smoked ham hock transformed the taste of a pot of beans. So easy, so good.

    Helen Adams

    I have never cooked with prosciutto or pancetta although lately I have been thinking of getting some just to see. (I do have some duck prosciutto in the freezer which my sister bought thinking it was smoked salmon:) I have never seen pancetta, never mind the lardons that seem so prolific in Europe.

    It is a foodie world these days. New methods/ingredients etc. I ran across smoked salt the other day and smoked paprika so I bought some. Very impressed with the salt. Paprika not so much but will try it in a few things to see.

    I have home cured both beef and pork (3 times) this year and was totally happy the first time, totally unhappy the second, and so so the third. But I shall persevere at a leisurely pace. I might try a dry cure next.

    I am often quite happy with veg. I think I learned to cook fairly young because I loved the vegetables the best (A minority of one in my family). Corn soup or chowder, spinach, scalloped potatoes, green beans etc. I could make a meal on any one. When samphire greens or fiddleheads were in season that would be pretty well all I ate given a choice. My mother kept telling me I would turn green:)

    Then again that perfectly cooked steak or lamb chop is pretty awesome as well. Made pickled shrimp yesterday, which is something I never heard of until a few days ago. Pretty easy and pretty good.

    Overall I just like food that tastes good. And sometimes I just have to eat a fried bologna sandwich dammit because that is what I want.

    [NOTE TO TO HELEN: Your posts will automatically be shown in the forums and not go through moderation  if you log in instead of using your name and e-mail to post. Ciao, L ]

    Suzanne Miler

    I’ve started looking forward to the taste of my evening vegetables. Quite a lot of progress for someone who wouldn’t eat anything but white bread as a child. I wasn’t a bit like you.

    I tried googling “Marmite,” “beans,” and “recipe” and noticed Kenji has a recipe for vegetarian chili using soy sauce and Marmite to make up the missing flavor of the meat.

    I recall Cooks Illustrated formulated a vegetarian barley and veg soup. They had a reason for putting together specifically mushroom powder and soy sauce to create a meaty flavor. I can find the recipe online, but can’t find the detailed explanation of why those two ingredients were deemed so strategic together. I suspect anyone who owned the last 10 years of Cooks Illustrated would be my new best friend. Probably the mushroom powder was for glutamates. So is there something in soy sauce that gooses up our sensation from glutamates?

    I just found this. Seems quite useful for informing some recipe improvisation: http://www.molecularrecipes.com/molecular-gastronomy/umami/

    Tagore Smith

    Helen: Pancetta and prosciutto are different animals (though they come from the same animal.) While both can be used in recipes, Pancetta is the more common and more useful ingredient.

    Think about all of the places that bacon is good, but overpowers other ingredients. An example: laying a few strips of bacon across the breast of a roasting chicken will make it moist, delicious, and tasting more of bacon than of chicken. Sometimes you want to taste the chicken… a few strips of pancetta are a better option, unless you are very into bacon

    Pancetta is cut from the same part of the pig as bacon is, is cured, as bacon is, but is not smoked. This, as they say, makes all the difference. Instead of overpowering other flavors it empowers them, as only pork fat can.

    Another example: I like to make a simple side of white beans with olive oil, lemon, black pepper, and a bit of thyme. It starts with finely diced onions sweated in a bit of fat. If I used bacon for the fat- well, I imagine it would be good, but it would definitely be bacon beans. A bit of pancetta though- well, no one would call them pancetta beans.

    Helen Adams

    @Tagor, I do know the difference, just haven’t cooked with them.Just curious as to why no one would call them pancetta beans?. We call our bacon beans beans with pork mostly. Just like Heinz does.

    I have eaten prosciutto but not cooked anything myself with it (yet), pancetta is not commonly available although I could probably get some in a deli or specialty butchers. Not right away though as I am in the position of having too much food to cook already. Nice in a way, but almost a burden when I want to buy something different. Got to firmly grab myself by the ear and pull away from the store.

    So are the pancetta beans (sorry) better by far? I do my beans in the pressure cooker and find the pork does not come out well so I do maple baked instead.


    Suzanne Miller

    Helen, bits of that duck proscuiutto you’ve squirreled away might be fabulous in a chicken pan sauce. I’m currently 6th in a queue of 95 people at the library. Woo hoo!

    Greg, does your Modernist Cuisine set have a nice, fat section on cooking for umami flavor? If so, I’ll consider spending an afternoon at the downtown public library, which has a set in Reference. I spent some time this weekend reading umami websites/blogs. Now I’m thinking, maybe try beans with a splash of umami-rich dashi instead of bacon/pancetta? Probably sounds like culinary abuse, but might do pork-free pinto beans, which my mother always boiled with bacon, some good.

    Greg, also, I have a friend who got rid of all her nonstick cookware and is looking at non-cast iron alternatives. I recall you were very convincing when you described your kitchen routine with a carbon steel pan. I wasn’t able to find the bits you wrote scattered amid several discussion threads. Would you mind reminding me of the name of the carbon steel pan(s) you have, and what you do to maintain them?

    Suzanne Miller

    Helen, bits of that duck proscuiutto you’ve squirreled away might be fabulous in a chicken pan sauce. I’m currently 6th in a queue of 95 people at the library. Woo hoo!

    Greg, does your Modernist Cuisine set have a nice, fat section on cooking for umami flavor? If so, I’ll consider spending an afternoon at the downtown public library, which has a set in Reference. I spent some time this weekend reading umami websites/blogs. Now I’m thinking, maybe try beans with a splash of umami-rich dashi instead of bacon/pancetta? Probably sounds like culinary abuse, but might do pork-free pinto beans, which my mother always boiled with bacon, some good.

    Greg, also, I have a friend who got rid of all her nonstick cookware and is looking at non-cast iron alternatives. I recall you were very convincing when you described your kitchen routine with a carbon steel pan. I wasn’t able to find the bits you wrote scattered amid several discussion threads. Would you mind reminding me of the name of the carbon steel pan(s) you have, and what you do to maintain them?

    Suzanne Miller

    Helen, bits of that duck proscuiutto you’ve squirreled away might be fabulous in a chicken pan sauce. I’m currently 6th in a queue of 95 people at the library. Woo hoo!

    Greg, does your Modernist Cuisine set have a nice, fat section on cooking for umami flavor? If so, I’ll consider spending an afternoon at the downtown public library, which has a set in Reference. I spent some time this weekend reading umami websites/blogs. Now I’m thinking, maybe try beans with a splash of umami-rich dashi instead of bacon/pancetta? Probably sounds like culinary abuse, but might do pork-free pinto beans, which my mother always boiled with bacon, some good.

    Greg, also, I have a friend who got rid of all her nonstick cookware and is looking at non-cast iron alternatives. I recall you were very convincing when you described your kitchen routine with a carbon steel pan. I wasn’t able to find the bits you wrote scattered amid several discussion threads. Would you mind reminding me of the name of the carbon steel pan(s) you have, and what you do to maintain them?

    Read more: The Food Lab Cookbook https://www.hippressurecooking.com/forums/topic/the-food-lab-cookbook/


    Hi Suzanne,
    I’ll check the books later today.

    My pans are de buyer brand. Most are from the “carbon plus” range but I have one mineralB and one one blue steel (wok). They charge a premium for the mineralB and I got a small one to see if it was worth the premium. I don’t think so. it IS good. But then so are the others.

    The mineralB has become my omelet pan. All I do with that one is wipe it out with a paper towel after each use.

    The others I heat to smoking after use then add some water and swish around with a nylon brush. Repeat, then put back on the hot stove to dry out. Every few uses I spray a little oil on and wipe it over before putting it away. Actually the big 32cm one tends to live on the stove top as I use it pretty much every day.

    One thing to keep in mind is that these pans have fairly gently sloping sides. That makes it easy to slide things out, but if you are used to steep sides then the flat base will be smaller than you expect for the size as the size is measured across the rim.

    At the time I bought them I also bought one all-clad copper pan the same size (8″) as the mineralB. I much prefer the de buyers despite the fact they were less than 10% of the cost. Much easier to care for. And less fussy about heat. My once very pretty all-clad is now discoloured. So are the be buyers but they are black not shiny anyway. So it doesn’t show on them.

    Also keep in mind that, being steel, they are not lightweight. Though they ARE lighter than cast iron. The mineralB is heavier in the same size than the carbon plus. I find they are easier to pick up if I hold the handle near the pan and run the handle along my arm. The 32cm one has a helper handle.


    Sorry it has taken so long to respond, Greg, but I’m having difficulty getting my message to post. I don’t get the “edit” bar after clicking “submit,” so when I assumed that meant the “submit” wasn’t successful and I reposted several times, I ended up with the same message submitted three times, as seen above. Then when I didn’t repost my reply to you when the Edit bar didn’t appear, my message didn’t post at all. So I’ll try this again. I work with a variety of computers, and some of them may not play nice with this Website.

    The details your wrote about your De Buyer pans was really helpful. Good to know the base surface may be smaller that another skillet of the same measure.

    There’s little difference in the price for the Carbon Plus and Mineral B lines here in the U.S. I wondered why the care instructions for Carbon Plus say to use a drop of dishsoap, where no soap is recommended for Mineral B pans. Either way, the care looks pretty easy.

    I have 10-inch All Clad copper sandwich pan. It does well enough, except I wish I could crank it up to a higher heat when reducing liquids. I keep one 8-inch nonstick for fish and eggs, which I’d like to replace with seasoned carbon steel sometime. What I don’t understand about seasoned carbon steel pans is, I thought steel was a poor conductor of heat. So are you trading off heat conduction to get non-stick qualities?

    My friend who got rid of her nonstick wants non-toxic nonstick without the weight of cast iron. I noticed on the De Buyer website that the 8-inch Carbon Plus frypan weighs 2 pounds. My 8-inch cast iron skillet weighs 2.1 pounds. So I’m not sure De Buyer will get her where she wants to go. But it may for me.

    Helen Adams

    Hi Suzanne. An interesting thread (old) on relative weight of the pans.

    Wish I could buy one but cupboard space will not permit until I unload a few pans.
    (I have several in the Salvation Army bag ready to leave home but not enough:).

    The website has been having problems which mean all posts must be moderated so they don’t show up for 8-24 hours usually. IIRC you can find them with a search before moderation. Big PITA for Laura I am sure.

    I am still trying out the umami ingredients and others. Divided on the marmite/soy/anchovy combo. Was good in a stew, not so much in a meat sauce (thought it tasted better before)and a bit of a PITA. Love the smoked salt and generally to me salt is salt.


    Helen, your Cheftalk link was helpful. Apparently I have an extra-heavy 8-inch cast iron skillet. I’m thinking along the lines of a 9-inch Carbon Plus pan, unless Greg tells me the Mineral B, for the same, price, is better.

    After doing the reading I have lately about how to get umami flavors, I’m more open to trying Marmite if a recipe calls for it. Maybe it doesn’t have the nutritious yeast flavor I studiously try to avoid.

    I’m surprised it has taken me so long to stumble on the more detailed info about umami. I’ve been struggling with trying make a plant-based diet satisfying for about three years now and have often, especially in mid-winter, early spring, felt stuck in the flavor doldrums. It’s nice to try new recipes with a knowledge of whether they have the necessary ingredients to taste savory. There’s a few recipes I tried over the summer that I didn’t like much. Could have saved myself the trouble — they don’t have any umami ingredients!

    Anchovy seems like a challenge to work into most recipes. I like anchovy as well as any Italian in my pasta sauce, but it doesn’t seem like a natural for most other recipes. I’ll be doing more dried shitake mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, I think. I suspect getting me to try marmite/soy/anchovy may take a few years. ;-)

    Helen Adams

    Marmite straight from the jar tastes like bouillon cube or paste to me. Not unpleasant although I have no urge to spread it on toast.
    Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies, not that you would think so to taste it.

    The combo of marmite/anchovy/soy/mushroom powder definitely adds something to a stew but it is to me undefinable. Just makes one want to have more and the leftovers much more appealing. I am pretty much sold just for this use alone.

    But adding 4 more ingredients especially the sticky marmite is a nuisance. So I am going to try and get the Umami No. 5 paste or powder. It is about $6 a tube but has convenience going for it when just wanting to see if a recipe can be perked up. http://www.laurasanttini.com/

    I will let you know when I try some.

    Another very interesting article


    Helen, I looked at your links. The umami #5 paste looks intriguing, but I couldn’t find what the ingredients were. But I’d be willing to play with it. Interested in your conclusions.

    And, yes, why NOT just throw in some msg instead of working to get glutamates and complimentary nucleotides happening? I’m beginning to wonder this. I started asking for my Asian food MSG-free after I had a reaction after a restaurant meal, years ago. But would seem harmless to try just a bit.


    SOrry I haven’t got back sooner re umami. I did look, but Laura’s recent changes have effectively locked me out when using the iPad – which is most of the time.
    There are only three or four entries on Umami in the whole 6 volumes.

    There is one “Umami Seasoning Fluid Gel” parametric recipe:
    (parametric recipes are given by percentage by weight of main ingredient)
    *Brown Beef stock 100%
    *Tomato Ketchup (Heinz brand) 26.7%
    *Clear honey 20%
    *Fish sauce 10%
    *Sherry vinegar 6.7%
    Blend all above together
    *Agar (Texturas brand) 2%
    Disperse Agar into cold mixture
    Heat to 95ºC and hold 3 minutes
    Remove from heat and cast into mold
    Refrigerate until set – about 5 minutes
    Break gel into pieces for easier blending
    *Dark Soy sauce 50%
    Puree Soy with set gel until very smooth. Pass through fine sieve
    Serve as seasoning for…

    From Volume 4 p183
    NB I haven’t tried it myself. And I would have to substitute brands if I did.

    Personally I have been working through David Leboviitz’z The Perfect Scoop lately. Inspiring

    EDIT: I tried to get smart and put the method indented from the ingredients. Of course the indents were stripped out. Sigh. As a quick fix, I Asterisked (*) the ingredients

    Helen Adams

    Still haven’t bought the Umami Paste as I haven’t been to the store that carries it.
    Ingredients for the original here.

    Basically a very expensive tomato paste:) but I will eventually get some. I just know it.

    This is what I am thinking of making just to see how it is, http://www.ramsonsandbramble.com/2014/05/vegetable-stock.html
    It is a vegetable stock paste with ingredients I have or can get next door except for chestnut mushrooms but crimini are much the same.

    What I find difficult to comprehend is the proportions. The Food Lab recipes are all over the place as to how many anchovies to how much soya sauce to how much marmite. It makes no sense to me. And that marmite is thick and sticky and hard to measure without making a mess. So I want to try the Umami Paste and the home made vegetable paste. Then I could add anchovies/marmite/soya etc.
    Do I make things difficult or what?

    Helen Adams

    @Suzanne To get your posts to show up faster put your name and email in the boxes provided. Still can’t edit but seems to be published right away?

    Helen Adams

    Sympathize on the iPad thing. I recently installed Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3 and it is a bitch. Everything is slower, takes longer and I ran out of memory frequently. Never happened with 8.1. Plus the downgrading thing will not work if you have a Windows account which you pretty much need for 8.1. Anyway scary stuff. I am almost annoyed enough to go Apple next time:(.

    Is the recipe for an additive or a condiment/side serving? Wondering why you have to mold it before blending it?

    I wouldn’t worry about the Heinz ketchup. At one time it was superior but now it is at the bottom of my ketchup buying list. It is okay but no better than generic. And watery. You would think after squeezing out the excess water it would be tastier but it isn’t and at times I am a ketchuholic.


    I am not entirely sure. I just searched the index for “umami” and it came up. My guess is that it is used as a sauce or gravy.

    I have met the “use agar, set then blitz” concept elsewhere. I appears to be a way to get a thick sauce without using flour or similar to thicken. That way you get more flavour for your buck.

    The problem with the iPad is that it has a virtual keyboard. If there is a way to hold down “shift” and click refresh, I haven’t been able to work it out. I suspect it is an issue for all tablets.

    The ketchup doesn’t worry me. Though here if I ask for ketchup, I am likely to get Ketchup (spelled Keçap) Manis which is a sweet soy sauce from Indonesia. Heinz and its friends are called “Tomato Sauce” Or even just “sauce” if you are buying a meat pie. Changing the brand may shift the flavour profile, but it should still work.
    The Agar does. I know with gelatine, you need to be very specific with brand and strength as there is no real standard for the various qualities. Given the warning, I am guessing Agar is the same. And if the wrong quality is used you will end up with either a fail to set or rubber.

    Helen Adams

    Hmmm. I know gelatin differs but I think agar is agar. Could be wrong. I have used different brands in Asian soup dumplings and they seem the same. I have also used powdered gelatin in place of sheet gelatin with no disastrous effects.

    I love my Microsoft Wedge Bluetooth keyboard. It is small and solid and has all necessary keys (big keys too). I currently am extremely upset with Microsoft after the Windows 10 debacle but this is the best keyboard I have and I have probably have/had at least 20.


    Greg, not sure of what version of Kenji’s book — paper or electronic — you are using, but if you actually typed up the umami sauce recipe keystroke-by-keystroke, so wonderful of you! So, the umami ingredients here are soy sauce, ketchup, fish sauce, and beef stock. Fish sauce for nucleotides and the rest for glutamates. I’m surprised Modernist Cuisine doesn’t discuss umami-making more. Thanks for saving me a trip to the downtown library!

    I looked up The Perfect Scoop. Looks like a classic and lots of fun. Although with winter leering down at us in the northern U.S., ice cream isn’t on our minds so much.

    Helen, I looked at the ingredients in your umami #5. I wonder why the balsamic vinegar and black olives? I hadn’t read they bring umami to the conversation. Do tell what you think of it when you try some.

    That umami veg stock link you sent really interests me. It would be great to have some cubes of this in the freezer for when one wants to throw something together in the pressure cooker without taking much time/trouble for steps that develop flavor. I want to try this and also freeze some dashi cubes. Maybe do the same with Greg’s umami sauce recipe using chicken stock.

    In fact, those were no empty threats I made earlier about putting dashi in a simple pot of pinto beans. It actually worked well! A bit of garlic with the soaked beans in the PC, some sliced onion and some oregano after cooking and release, and a splash of classic dashi instead of bacon. The dashi flavor disappeared, leaving the smokey flavor of the katsobushi, which nicely replaced the smokiness of the missing bacon. With a little grating of Colby cheese, it was nice enough and so easy. Over one bowl, I lost track of time. Umami-ful. Next time I’ll try it with dashi made from dried shitake mushroom and kombu. More food abuse!

    Kenji’s book is sitting on my couch. I haven’t had time to do much with it yet. I have looked through his kitchen equipment recommendations. I LOVE that Kenji tells you why it’s worthwhile owning each thing, so you can quickly stop salivating over stuff you don’t need because you don’t do that thing in your home cooking. He’s an entertaining writer. I’ve seldom been so charmed and amused while reading a cookbook.

    I, too, would like to get a couple of unobtrusive umami-making ingredients down to a simple formula, which sounds a bit elusive on the meat side of the book, Helen. The relative proportions of Marmite/soy/anchovy, etc., may just come down to Kenji’s personal preference. Your plan to add umami #5 and then more Marmite/soy/anchovy does feel complicated to me — after a summer and fall of mostly cooking experiments, I‘m yearning for simple and reliable. The Cook’s Illustrated meatless vegetable barley soup recipe uses 1/8 oz dried porcini mushrooms, ground up, with 2 teaspoons soy sauce to boost umami, although it mentions chicken stock as an option. Mushroom powder would be easy to keep in the pantry, and soy sauce is always in the refrig. Tempting for a currently lazy cook.

    Helen Adams

    wow sounds like you are getting somewhere Suzanne.
    My actual plan is to try the Umami paste and see if it is good/great/so-so. But the real plan is to try the veg stock and use this by itself first and add one of Kenji’s many combinations to it and try to dete4rmine the difference.

    I think Kenji is going by guestimate, personal preferences and his blind testers or wife/doorman. I admire his persistence:) and the fact that he will cook vast amounts of food to get it right. Plus in the podcast I listened to he came across as a pretty pleasant person. If I cooked that much corned beef or spareribs or Mac and cheese and taste tested it all it would be a year before I could even think of looking at it again never mind eating it. And everything he does, in my experience, is practical to do at home.

    I am confounded by the fact that I cannot say why things taste different or better. Usually they do but why? If I eat/cook food with/without salt and pepper or butter etc. I can notice the difference. If I fry leftover veg to me that is a whole different taste. The lowly potatoes or rice can be made in so many distinctive ways. Why aren’t onions a umami ingredient?

    I also really liked the equipment section. I am awaiting the arrival of a Benriner mandolin. I expect to be julienning/slicing veg for days on end:)

    Helen Adams

    Yet another post as I left out some things on my gigantic previous post.
    The beans sound interesting. The Japanese have been doing Umami ingredients that famous chefs seem to be just “discovering” for eons. I have taken to pestering the staff at my local Asian supermarket. I ask which one is best and usually get an informative answer like small fish more flavor or they yard me down an aisle and say buy this, much less work.

    Nice the book has arrived. I have the Ebook version which I enjoyed reading, and I did actually read it. Wouldn’t buy the paper version myself. Wouldn’t normally buy the eBook version but sort of a supportive gesture. AFAIK everything is available on Serious Eats.


    I have learned to distrust spice powders in all their forms. They lose flavour quickly. Frequently before you buy them. Instead of mushroom powder, I keep a packet of dried Shitake mushrooms in the pantry. When I want that umami hit I just grate one (or a few) into whatever I am cooking. Likewise, I use whole peppercorns, nutmeg and cinnamon whenever possible. Though I am out of cinnamon right now. I made cinnamon ice cream the other day and it used 10 quills for a liter of ice cream.

    I find find Vegemite adds a beefy note so I only use that when I am cooking with beef. Or if I want that meaty flavour without actually adding any meat.


    Greg, I’m with you on powdered spices in general. When I’m not in a hurry, I grind my own. I’ll powder a dried mushroom in my electric coffee grinder as well as most other spices. I will say, though, I used a berbere spice mixture this fall that made yummy chow. I can never get fenugreek seeds ground well in a mortar and pestle or the coffee grinder. They are hard-as-nails little seeds. But the pre-ground berbere, which includes fenugreek, solves that problem nicely.

    Would love to have taken a bite of your very cinnamon ice cream. Didn’t it just fry your nose?

    I’ll ask around about your ipad issue for refreshing the screen.

    Helen, I think the Japanese are going to be a great resource for not relying on meat for umami flavor since, I believe until a century ago or so, they ate mostly fish. If it can be done, they’ve probably done it. You paint an amusing picture of trying to learn and get what you want from ethnic grocery stores. I often feel stupid at my local mega-Asian grocery as I struggle to relay what I’m looking for. The salespeople are patient and usually figure it out.

    About adding one of Kenji’s umami combinations to the umami veg stock: I’m guessing his combinations will carry far more umami content than the stock. In the tables I’ve looked at, the veg, except for sundried tomatoes, carry far less umami than things like anchovy, certain cheeses, and processed protein sources such as Marmite. I suspect it will come down to what you are used to — after enjoying meats boosted by Kenji-type umami combinations, the umami that vegetables have to offer may seem weak and unimpressive. It doesn’t take much umami to make me quite happy, probably because I don’t get much of it in my plant-based kitchen. As always, do tell us if your soup explodes from too much glutamate.

    Well, an onion IS an umami ingredient, properly cooked, I read in one place. Not an umami tenor, but one voice in a madrigal group. Seriously, I’ve read that in the Chinese version of dashi, Chinese cabbage and leeks provide the glutamates, and chicken bones bring the nucleotides. I plan to try that combo. It explains why leeks make chicken broth or soup so nice. I also read that sake is an umami source; and why would that be, and not other spirits as well?

    Maybe reacting to but not tasting umami is like subliminal images in commercials. You know, where a manipulative image flashes past you so fast it doesn’t register consciously, but your body still reacts. We’re not wired to be conscious of umami, just to react physically to it.

    I’m going to sulk over your new mandoline. You’re so mean, Helen.

    I’d noticed at Serious Eats a few months ago that Kenji seems comfortable with the vegetarian version of Better-Than-Bouillon as a substitute for real vegetable stock, which is generally a wimpy affair anyway. So tonight, shopping at my local food co-op, I picked some up. I noticed with trepidation it had yeast extract in it, and I kept telling myself, “That’s glutamates, hon. Open yourself to the glutamates.” So I got it home and tried it in hot water and . . . Bleck! As I tossed it down the sink, the immortal lines from a famous children’s book ran through my head: “I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam-I-am!”

    Helen Adams

    EEEKK on the Better than bouillon veg stock. I had a similar experience with their lobster stock. Tasted like salt and cheese. Ad while I am fond of salt and cheese this was not my idea of tasty. I have the beef stock but seldom use it. Maybe the lobster one just threw me off. It is the mot often recommended brand and possibly the only brand of lobster stock, but I will have to have money to burn before I try another of their products.

    Apparently meat was actually banned in Japan at one time which accelerated or started their search for Umami. However other Asian cultures seem equally adept at bringing flavour to their foods. While their are many crappy Chinese restaurants a good one or a good Filipino restaurant is amazing. And I have been fortunate to have Asian friends who invite me to dinner or bring me food to work that is to die for.

    I like my traditional North American cuisine, but I know many people that the closest they get to a vegetable is the tomato in their burger along with the fries and many people order their burger with no veg. Each to their own I guess.

    I have become almost addicted to tomatoes recently. Fresh/sauce/juice/paste etc. Not sure why. But then again I have been addicted to many foods and then gone off them completely.

    Interesting about the leeks and cabbage. I have never found leeks that impressive or shallots either although I do have shallots on hand. A lot pricier than onions and most recipes just use the bulbs. I also use Chinese cabbage when I make dumplings. I tried regular cabbage and it just was not right. But regular cabbage is great in an egg roll. Go figure.

    I looked up katsuobushi and was surprised to find I had bought some the other day. I asked for bonito and that was what they recommended. Too many ingredients and I can only eat so much dammit. Don’t want to be big as a house:)

    Mostly I am fine with powdered spices even pepper which I am sure will make Greg cringe and laugh at me louder than my less than great digital scale did. I do grind some and almost always use fresh garlic, but generally preground is good enough. Nutmeg is definitely better freshly ground but I don’t use it that often and I broke my nutmeg grinder and I have a crappy coffee grinder. Isn’t justification wonderful:)


    I had another forum message I sent several days ago get lost somewhere along the line. So I’m reposting some of it and hoping the old one does not show up as a duplicate.

    I’m continuing to nibble at this book in a disorganized fashion. I’m surprised that in the equipment section Kenji doesn’t recommend a pressure cooker instead of the stock pot. Thinking of the expense, I imagine. But he has me convinced on y-shaped vegetable peelers. I’ve avoided mandolins, though, because I preferred to let the food processor do the repetitive motion of slicing veg rather than my elbow. I’d like to know how useful you find your new one, Helen.

    Has anyone else struggled with The Food Lab bar chart on page 182? It seems to me it doesn’t represent what the text in the first column on that page is saying. I suspect the bars are colored the reverse of what they should be.

    I wish I had umami formulas, such as “4 sundried tomatoes for each dried shitake mushroom cap” that would optimize the ratio of glutamates to nucleotides to the greatest extent that is pleasant for the human palate. I’m making shot-in-the-dark guesses at this point. Also, because some umami carriers, such as anchovies, have strong flavors, wouldn’t it be nice to know maximum effective amounts for achieving umami bliss? Then one would be less likely to distort the flavor of a dish.

    A Taiwanese roommate introduced me to Chinese hotpot in college. She used a bottled dipping sauce that had dried shrimp in it. I was mystified that a bunch of veg, a few thin slices of beef, and fish cake could create such an intense, savory broth. Now I get it — it was the Chinese cabbage (glutamates), the squid in the fish cake (nucleotides) and the dried shrimp (more glutamates) in the sauce that elevated the umami of the dish, for starters.

    I no longer make Chinese hotpot, but a simple miso/shitake/ginger/bok choy soup with plain kombu broth makes a tasty base for other stray bits of veg in the refrig, leftover rice, and frozen cod chunks. It’s umami-rich, home-made fast food: no saute needed, one serving, and no leftovers. The umami from the dried mushroom, miso, and kombu compensates for the no-fuss of merely rough chopping veg and fish and simmering them together briefly. I’ll try adding Chinese cabbage next time. Maybe you’ll read in the news of an American woman whose kitchen went up in a mushroom cloud from a soup crammed with too many glutamates.

    Helen, I’d love to be at your table on Chinese dumpling night. I’ve had Chinese and Tibetan roommates teach me how to make their versions, but it always seemed like too much work for something that doesn’t work as leftovers. I worked on polishing off many of my room mate’s dumplings, instead.

    Better Than Bouillon makes a simple, uncomplicated product with a lot of natural ingredients, so I give them credit for that. But the icky yeast extract flavor is so dominating to me, I can’t taste much of what the broth is supposed to taste like. Still, a lot of vegetarians add nutritional yeast to their foods, and fake meat products, which usually contain some form of treated yeast, is a growth business in the U.S. Maybe all those vegetarians are just aliens, and yeast aversion is the one thing they couldn’t get quite right about their human bodies. Whoa! Incoming! Time to take cover!

    Helen, I, too, like tomatoes more and more. I have friends who won‘t eat them, and cooking for them is more challenging, because tomatoes always bring up the flavors. No wonder the Italians, with their history of glutamate mania, embraced the tomato like a long-lost uncle. My favorite unplanned pantry dinner is puttanesca sauce with tuna over pasta. An umami bomb, I recently realized.

    I’ve seen T.V. chefs use their microplanes for nutmeg. ATK has recommended Krupps electric coffee grinders for years, should you be in the market. Last spring I fell in love with Ceylon stick cinnamon and pressure cooked cinnamon vanilla custards for my dinner guests all summer. Such an easy, quick, rich-tasting desert. But my coffee grinder won’t powder a cinnamon stick. Suggestions?


    @Helen, no worries. I’ll just make sure to pack my travel grinder when I come visit. ;)

    @Suzanne, the only problem I have with that graph is that it is most definitely not colour blind friendly. It is graphing time against size. Basically the smaller you chop the chicken, the faster you extract the flavour. Conversely, the size of the pieces only makes a slight difference to the body of the stock.

    EDIT: I looked more carefully at the colour scheme (with Pam’s help). Yes he has the legend backwards. Green is flavour development. Orange should be body development. I didn’t notice before as I just read it as the text and common sense said it should be. Sometimes it helps to be “defective” :)

    I have had a Benriner for years. It is brilliant at fine slice. I am not so happy about its ability to Julienne. Keep in mind it is also brilliant at slicing fingers. Pam refuses to use it and won’t even stay in the kitchen when I do. She also refuses to patch me up these days, claiming I should know better.

    And yes I have been using a micro plane for nutmeg ever since I discovered them. Abso-blooming-lutely marvelous. I use the finest one of the four I own for nutmeg. And zest. And chocolate. The other three coarser ones get used less often except possibly the ribbon one. That gets a look in whenever I want to dress with Parmesan. The Y slicer ( I have one of them too) will do it but you don’t get the same feathery lightness. The Y slicer comes into its own when doing ribbons of carrot or cucumber. Or just peeling potatoes.

    I have pretty much given up trying to powder cinnamon. I keep powder for the rare times when only that will do. If I get stuck, the best option is to crumble it by hand then get stuck in with a big mortar and pestle. But it takes time. And effort. I think the Indians have a motorized stone grinding device for the job. The other problem with powdered cinnamon is that it usually isn’t. It is usually the cheaper and less subtle but similar Cassia bark.


    Making Kenji’s SV burgers for dinner. About to pull them out of the SV. I must say they were much less fiddle than I was expecting. Except for the BT ]{}>{}%£ remote control on the APC. Unless they can sort out the bugs on the app I seriously wouldn’t bother with the WiFi version.


    I got the mandolin and it is pretty nice. Seemed a bit small and think I should have bought the wider one but is actually more than adequate. And stores sideways in my utensil drawer. Also has a solid feel and seems much better than others I have owned.

    The food holder thingy is IMO useless. Using an oven mitt.
    I waffled for week between this one (Benriner) or a slightly more expensive V shaped blade. Decided on this one because of the adjustable thickness and the Food Lab recommendation.
    SO far have done an orange, radish, exquisitely thin sliced onions and an over ripe pear. Worked perfectly. Julienned some zucchini and a carrot. Looked lovely but as I was just testing I ended up just cooking everything but the orange as caramelized side dish. Was lovely with my sous vide lamb chop.

    My biggest problem is remembering to use it. Several times I have been halfway through slicing an onion or a potato for home fries and thought why am I doing this? Probably isn’t more efficient time wise when doing small quantities but things look nicer and to me this is generally a good thing.


    I actually posted in this thread about the Benriner but it hasn’t shown up. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.

    I have two food processors but I lost the slicing/grating blade for my small one and the gigantic KitchenAid is a pain to get out and use unless I am doing a lot. Hence the Mandolin. I like it so far.

    I didn’t really expect it to julienne but it seems okay.

    I am thinking to get the Microplane Elite box grater. I like using a box grater and don’t currently have one. Too many gadgets/appliances in a miniscule kitchen already. I actually boxed up more than a few last week. I had 6 or 8 can-openers and really only use the Smooth Edge one from the Dollar Store these days.

    I have several things that will probably do an adequate job grinding but just don’t generally find it worth it taste-wise. The smell is wonderful but I don’t taste a big difference. It is not just spices. Coffee freshly ground is all about the aroma for me. I will sometimes be wowed by a cup but often it might as well be instant. Maybe I need a tongue transplant:) But… I can detect noticeable differences in meat or butter or fruit or even the lowly potato. Olive oils and balsamic vinegars all taste much the same, but I buy a good one because I don’t use an awful lot and maybe others can tell the difference in what I am cooking.
    And my tastes change periodically. Can be crazy for chocolate and then I cannot stand the stuff, then back to liking it again.

    @Suzanne, interested in your soup recipe. I made a horrendously hideous soup a few days ago. started with an Asian fish soup base, sort of a gel in a big pouch. No English instructions even online. Was way too spicy. Nose runny eye watering spicy. SO I added more water and some potatoes etc. Still all I could taste was HOT. Then I added some spinach and some fish. Still unpleasant, in fact even more so. Fished out the fish which was tasty by itself and dumped the rest. I have the Kombu etc. My two favorite soups to make are chipotle corn and French onion.

    When I make dumplings/dim sum I make a lot and freeze most as do my Asian friends who make far better ones than I do. Then I can steam them for 8 minutes and just like fresh. However I really like dumplings even the crappy store bought ones and they are so much easier:) with lots of vegetarian ones. Steaming with some sesame oil is good and the dipping sauce is important.

    Many people won’t eat visible raw or cooked tomatoes but they will eat spaghetti or ketchup or BBQ sauce or Pizza. Go figure:)

    I too would love a formula and/or a mixture that I could store in the fridge/freezer and use as needed. Or a powdered version with most of the ingredients or one/two of each. I am still looking for the Umami paste. Our largest supermarket chain has their own store brand but none of the stores I have been to carry it. Then again I do enjoy a challenge.


    I think Anova has shot themselves in the foot with this one. The only review I have seen (published yesterday) is a CNET one damning them with faint praise and basically advising people not to buy.

    From what I can gather Anova and Instant Pot both went with the Smart Blue Tooth because their is a packaged SDK for IOS and Android for crockpots etc. requiring little programming effort.

    How were the burgers. I did sous vide burgers twice and was not impressed. The exact same patties (some Kenji recipe) were much better cooked on the stove with either cast iron or non-stick. I found the sous vide ones to be more rubbery and had a more pronounced grease taste/texture.

    My new favorite sous vide recipe is the 24 hour 140 degree brisket, just heavenly.


    My burgers worked out really well. But then I like SV chicken. So what would I know. ;)

    It was the first time I have ever ground my own meat for burgers and I must say it was a revelation. I used straight Chuck and the piece my butcher gave was quite lean. Even so the result was tender and juicy and full of meaty flavour. Pam looked suspiciously and asked if it was cooked though. She would give Guy (what happened to him?) a run for king of the “over cooked” fans. I went for medium and probably had it in the SV a little over an hour.

    I tried using the app to control cooking as it seemed a straight forward recipe. When the screensaver cut in, it disconnected the BT link. When I re-established it, it shut down the APC. When I restarted that, it reset the time to 40 min ( the recipe time). When I tried to change the time it appeared to change, but didn’t start the timer. Finally I shut it all down manually and reset time and temp manually. Then I went into the recipe to check the next step, and it reset the timer again. Sigh. At that point I gave up with the app and set a separate timer. Should have done that from the start. The app does appear to have some good recipes, but never never use it to control the APC. As for wireless… Imagine accidentally changing time/temp accidentally and remotely. AAAARGH!!! At least I was in the kitchen and noticed what was happening.

    As for the Benriner holder, I agree. The oven mitt sound like I good idea. I just press down with my palm, keeping all my fingers splayed out. It seems to be working ok. So far.


    Well I haven’t given up on the chicken yet, but haven’t done any lately.

    I actually can run the app on my phone but cannot connect. Not impressed really. I am a bit smartphone challenged. Older eyes. Clumsy thumbs. Wish they would at least go with Nexus.

    I am okay now without either app and I am sure a really useful app will be developed one of these days by an outside developer. A good general cook book program capable of controlling several devices would be a winner IMO.

    Think I will get a cut resistant glove one of these days.
    Your Pam, who sounds like a sensible, lovely woman would probably be happy if you got one:)

    I too have been wondering about Guy. Must get energetic and post a reply in one of his previous threads as he would probably get an email notification eventually. Hope he is alright.


    it’s a…l…i…i…i…v…e…!


    Laura, you’re in the sun-dried tomato heartland of the world. I wonder if you know if sun-dried tomatoes do more to make a dish savory than ones that have been merely dehydrated? My co-op sells dehydrated ones in bulk.

    Also, I loved your honesty on the IP Smart review. I like to keep it simple and physical in the kitchen, and have hesitated on the Smart in part because I spend too much time second-guessing digital machines when I’m not cooking. I’ve sort of dreaded introducing a major digital gadget into the kitchen where I have to learn to think like it thinks and operate around that, rather than just doing what I do. Maybe next year . . .

    Greg, so glad I wasn’t stupid wrong on that “Food Lab” bar chart. I considered keeping quiet to avoid online humiliation. Thanks for taking a second look. I like it that Kenji renounces sacrificing flavor to get restaurant-quality clear stock. That’s one corner I’ve been cutting for a long time, and now I can feel righteous about it.

    And, of course, Greg, you would be the guy with four microplanes. I’ve wondered what I’m missing out on having just one. Kenji writes blissfully about mincing garlic on his microplane, but wouldn’t it be a pain to get all the garlic out of it, and a person never would, so would’t the spendy grated Parmigiano Reggiano and winsome nutmeg start smelling like garlic? Guess you’d have to buy a second microplane. But four???? ;-)

    Not sure where I read it — Serious Eats or the New York Times? — but I read that the three pieces of kitchen equipment responsible for the most lost/injured fingers in the emergency room are meat slicers, immersion blenders, and mandolins, with meat slicers doing the most harm. Since I already endanger my digits by using an immersion blender — not the safest one, either — daily, I’ve cooled my jets on getting a mandolin, thinking that it would stack the odds against me. Helen, your plan of getting a cut-proof glove sounds very practical. Glad you are liking your new toy. Greg, it’s the holiday season. Tell Pam you want a glove. She’ll probably give it to you yesterday.

    Cutting all the veg I do is a perennial problem. My spendy Kitchen Aid food processor does most things poorly. It will slice the veg acceptably, but that last bit that cannot be pushed through the blade begins revolving madly on top, unbalancing the heavy motor base, which then tries to bounce across the room. Always exciting. Too exciting. Mostly, I use my knife. Sometimes my wrist gets sore.

    Reading Kenji’s section on knives, I’ve begun drooling over the 7-inch Wusthof Trident Classic Hollow Ground Santoku knife which he recommends for small hands. I use a Brownstone high carbon stainless steel santoku to cut fruit and veg (98% of my cutting tasks). The knife is well proportioned for my hands and the edge is curved enough to allow sufficient rocking motion. In most ways, it’s great, but the edge dulls SO fast. My cutting board is wood and I sharpen this knife about once a week. Maybe I just need to hone more, rather than yearning for a new and exciting knife. I’ve wondered about the Granton edged knives I see at Williams Sonoma. Wouldn’t those dimpled areas sharpen faster because the metal is thinner, distorting the curve of the blade over time, turning it all wavy instead of in the shape of a curve?

    In the November/December Cooks Illustrated magazine, there’s an equipment review on carbon steel fry pans. They tested 12-inch pans by searing meat, releasing tarte tatin, and releasing eggs and omelets. De Buyer Mineral B came out in the middle of the ratings under “Recommended,” graded down for the angle of the handle and the longer time it took for seasoning to become optimal. But they gave top rating to the pan’s performance. The pan most highly rated in all categories was call “Mafter Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan” for $44. I’ll look into this pan as well when I have more time.

    Helen, so you CAN freeze dumplings. I’ve enjoyed frozen ones, but I assumed any I froze in a ziplock bag would freezer burn quickly. Then again, they wouldn’t be in the freezer that long. I admire you for making dumplings. It takes real patience.

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