Articles rss

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

What the *&@#%!$ Should I Do with All This Lettuce?

Why relegate lettuce to salads when you can roll it up into a fat blunt and smoke it?!

Let me explain.

When researching new ways to use lettuce in the kitchen (sick as I was of green salads as a dinner table staple), I came across quite a few wild lettuce chat boards filled with comments about the sedative and narcotic effects of the lowly plant we chomp on as an appetizer or palate cleanser. Wild lettuce is a cousin of the leaf lettuces we eat on a regular basis. Suddenly my ideas of lettuce soup and braised lettuce seemed so lame. READ MORE

The People’s Farm

The Free Farm on Gough Street in San Francisco is a radical idea. The gist: an empty lot in a sorta sketchy part of town that is being cultivated by volunteers who give all the food away for free to the community, both on site and on Saturdays in the Mission at a Free Farm stand. READ MORE

Earthworks on a Plate

Play Video

Dinner at San Francisco restaurant COI. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Bad Robot, No Coffee for You

Coffeehouses in San Francisco used to be bohemian, grimy places where you read the Bay Guardian and there were really bad oil paintings on the walls. That all changed in 2005, when Ritual Coffee Roasters opened on Valencia Street. Ritual roasted its own beans and put out amazing espresso and drip coffee—for high prices. But soon, Ritual was colonized by a robotic race of laptop users. Any time of day, every seat was taken by somebody typing away, Facebooking, trolling Craigslist. READ MORE

Fake Chocolate Mousse to Celebrate Me o’Clock

Fake Chocolate Mousse to Celebrate Me o’Clock

This week's mission: low-calorie mousse that's not as indulgent as it claims to be. READ MORE

Are Asian Desserts Too Weird for Americans?

ipsedixit wonders why Americans love savory Asian foods, but Asian desserts have never really caught on in America. "When will sweet red beans get traction on American dessert menus in the same way that things like egg rolls or fried rice have on the app/entrée side?" asks ipsedixit. "Or what about things like mochi? Or shaved ice? Almond tofu anyone?"

Part of this is that Asian desserts tend to be less sweet, and Americans prefer stronger, sweeter desserts, says gfr1111. "One of the things that surprised me the most in Singapore was all the chocolate cake covered with chocolate frosting available in the downtown bakeries," says gfr1111. "These cakes look gorgeous. However, when you eat them, you discover that the chocolate cake has almost no chocolate flavor and the chocolate frosting is made out of gelatin and a minimal amount of chocolate. It isn't very sweet, either." K K agrees: "While I don't know what Black Forest Cake tastes like in Europe, the version in Hong Kong is lighter and doesn't overload like some triple chocolate cheesecake."

Asian desserts also use "weird" textures and "weird" flavors in their desserts, and Americans are pretty conservative about what is considered dessert. "Western palates are going for novel sweet savory desserts now, partially because they are accessible tweaks of standards," says JungMann. "Sweetened tofu, beans, or avocado, however, meet a little more resistance. Not only are these savory foods, but they are popularly categorized and limited to certain applications." "And the whole notion of beans in a dessert is off-putting for some," says BigSal.

Discuss: The next frontier in Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) cuisine? Desserts?

Lowbrow Gummy Bears Get Fancied Up

Lowbrow Gummy Bears Get Fancied Up

This week's mission: The world finally has artisanal gummies. READ MORE

The Right Shape for Hamburger Patties

How do you form hamburger patties for perfect burgers? A hockey puck shape is the right idea, says goodhealthgourmet, with even thickness and uniform shape. You don't want a mound of meat. For one thing, "you're sort of encroaching on meatball territory," says goodhealthgourmet.

Second, burgers puff up in the middle when cooked, and the mound shape would only exacerbate this problem, says scubadoo97. "I do the hockey puck shape, then depress the middle to make it resemble a red blood cell," says scubadoo97. "This way when it puffs in the center it evens out." TongoRad goes a step further and pokes a hole in the center of the patty. "It doesn't have to be huge—I just poke my pinky through there—but it works every time, and even sort of closes in on itself during cooking so you're not left with a gaping hole at the end," says TongoRad.

Discuss: Hamburger Patty Shape

Lox and Smoked Salmon

Traditionally, "lox" referred to brined salmon, not smoked. "Nova brought in the smoked aspect, many years after lox was popular in the Lower East Side amongst Jews and East Europeans," says applehome. "Nova is from Nova Scotia—the Scotsmen who smoked anything and everything. But today, everything is everything—lox refers to cold-smoked salmon as well as non-smoked."

If you go to a traditional lox purveyor, though, be aware that the old meaning still applies: "Order lox, and they'll bring you lox!" says applehome. "It's pinkish and slimy, where the smoked stuff tends to be orange and more dry."

"Hard" or "hot" smoked salmon, with its flaky texture, is never called lox, though, thank goodness, says applehome.

Discuss: Nova Lox vs Regular Lox

Hey, Mama, Steer Clear of That Pizza

A new study found that "mothers who eat a high fat diet before and during pregnancy may be putting their offspring at risk of birth defects," reported Reuters. British researchers showed that a poor maternal diet may interact with defective genes to cause severe problems like congenital heart disease and cleft palates—in mice, at least.