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Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.

For the Baby Gourmet on Your Gift List

Looking for a gift for that aspiring foodie toddler in your life? Forget building blocks. Give a wooden sushi slicing set in its own bento box—ginger, wasabi, and shoyu included!

That’s what McAuliflower, the blogger behind Brownie Points, is doing. She’s found an adorable sushi set, featuring chopsticks tipped in Velcro to help Baby pick up those tempting pices of nigiri. Reader comments on her blog post seem to point to a lot of grown-up foodies who wouldn’t mind receiving a gift like this (click over to see it; it’s beyond cute).

The set is available at online store Oliebollen (fittingly named after the Dutch holiday donut), which offers “essentials for perfectly childish living.” In addition to the sushi set, they have a Bistro Cooking Utensils Set, a Cupcake Baking Set, and—my favorite—the Deluxe Pastry Chef Set, which includes a wooden pastry board, rolling pin, porcelain pie plate, pastry cutter, and pastry brush. It’s for all those Pierre Hermés of the kindergarten set.

For the bookish foodie, there is a series of board books called A World of Snacks. Let’s Nosh introduces Jewish comfort foods—bagles, knishes, and latkes. The First Book of Sushi lays down the basics of nigiri, oshi, and maki. Yum Yum Dim Sum is a buffet of pork buns and dumplings. A Little Bit of Soul Food serves up fried chicken, collards, and mac and cheese.

But for the true child gourmet, there is the Truffle Snuffle Game. Here the players don a pig nose and go sniffing for truffles. Each turn is timed, and there is a prize for sniffing out the golden truffle.

Clearly Candy Land is passé these days.

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Don’t Lose Your Whey

If you strain yogurt to make it thicker and richer, don’t throw out the liquid that drains out as the yogurt thickens. This is whey, the byproduct of straining yogurt or making fresh cheese. It might not be very appetizing on its own, but it’s a very nutritious ingredient. It can be used as a substitute for milk in baking, notes Candy. Sherri says she has always used whey in sourdough starter and for bread baking, in place of water, with fantastic results; the whey adds a pleasant tang.

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draining yogurt. What is that stuff??

Fun with Fuyu Persimmons

Late fall means persimmon season. There are two types commonly found in the U.S., and they’re used and eaten in distinct ways. Hachiyas are deep orange in color, with a pointed end, and must be allowed to ripen until extremely soft in texture, or they are too astringent to eat; they are usually used in cooking, and must always be peeled. Fuyus are lighter in color with a flatter shape similar to that of a tomato. Fuyus are eaten firm or just slightly soft, and whether to peel is a personal choice, though most people don’t. They’re great simply eaten out of hand like an apple, but they can also be incorporated into lots of dishes.

rworange says persimmons are delicious with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of chile powder, as in the Mexican treatment for mangoes. They also make great dippers for chocolate fondue.

Glencora makes a pureed curried persimmon soup that begins with sauteing diced, peeled persimmons, onions, ginger, and spices.

They’re also a great addition to salad, whether a simple green salad, or one designed around them. Carb Lover likes them with thinly shaved fennel, apple, and toasted walnuts dressed witth just enough lemon-mayo dressing to moisten it. rworange says this autumn salad with persimmons and pecans is one of the most successful things she’s ever made.

singleguychef shares his recipe for chicken salad with persimmons, great in sandwiches or served on greens:

1.5 lbs. chicken breasts with skin and bones
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 persimmons, peeled and diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup roasted unsalted walnuts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Salt and pepper chicken breasts on both sides and under the skin and coat with olive oil. Place on roasting pan and bake for about 25 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool. In large bowl, tear strips of the chicken meat. Add persimmons, celery, and walnuts. In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard, salt, lemon juice and zest. Fold mixture into chicken and other ingredients, adding as much of the mayonnaise mixture as you like. Add pepper to taste and chill for about an hour.

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what do you do with persimmons?

Frozen Sushi

If you’re so inclined, Sam’s Club stores sell frozen sushi made by Ajinomoto. Good as a quick snack or in the lunchbox.

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Frozen sushi anyone?

Milk Frothers

To create a froth of steamed milk for a perfect cappuccino, hot chocolate, or other hot drink, you don’t need an espresso machine.

Nespresso’s Aeroccino (about $90) is completely automatic. Add milk, push a button, and voila! Steamed, frothy milk, in under a minute. btnfood says it’s effortless and makes the best foam he’s ever tasted.

Here’s the website; if you click on “demo” you’ll see it in action.

The Bodum wand frother works beautifully for Procrastibaker, who likes a lot of foam. It’s like a tiny hand blender; it froths right in your cup of warmed milk. The price is very reasonable, under $15.

Back to Basics smoothie makers make good smoothies, grind ice, and, according to EclecticEater, if you pour in milk (hot or cold), will whiz it into a terrific froth. They work especially well with non-fat milk. At the bottom, there’s a handy dispenser valve to dispense the froth.

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Steamed milk without an espresso machine?

100 Lbs of Seafood?

It’s easy to miss 100 LB, not least because they haven’t bothered to take down the signs of its previous incarnation, M D King’s. This is a pretty basic hot pot restaurant, with a buffet of hot pot ingredients including fish fillets, mussels, shrimp squid, various types of fish balls, salmon fillets, imitation crab, thinly sliced pork and beef, vegetables and bean curd sheets.

You go to 100 Lb for the broth, says Chandavkl—you can get spicy tofu, non-spicy, or pickled. The non-spicy broth is exceptionally tasty.

Weekday lunch is about $8; dinner and weekends is about $12.

100 Lb Seafood Hot Pot Buffet [San Gabriel Valley]
formerly M D King’s Buffet
127 N Garfield Ave. # Y, near Garvey, Monterey Park

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100 LB Seafood Hot Pot Buffet in Monterey Park

Z, The Sushi Gen of San Gabriel Valley

Z Sushi in Alhambra is the only place worth recommending in the area for people who are serious about sushi, says tsb, who lists a few reasons this place stands out.

Toshi prepares the anago himself, and somehow makes it almost fluffy in texture. A lot of places serve the commercially processed stuff; by making it himself, he can use the bones to make tsume—the sweet sauce for the eel.

He also prepares his own kohada, which has a smoky tinge that distinguishes it from other places.

Seared salmon with yuzu gosho and tai with yuzu and sea salt aren’t as unusual, but they’re definitely highlights of the repertoire.

He also does a credible version of Osaka-style battera—minus the wooden box—on request.

As for omakase, microtim says, “He started with a big tease followed with a plate of standard sushi. Then each sushi after that increased in quality by one notch until we climaxed at the toro. Then we reminisced on the experience in the warmth of a soup and the finishing touch of dessert. Yes, it was very much like sex.”

Z Sushi [San Gabriel Valley]
1132 N. Garfield Ave., Alhambra

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Omakase at Z-Sushi