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

The Simple Goodness of Fresh Black-Eyed Peas

Fresh black-eyed peas star in a simple Southern preparation. shanagain cooks them in salted water with bacon, a whole garlic clove, and some diced onion, seasoning to taste as they cook. "If you have to shell them," she says, "leave some 'snaps'—about 1 1/2-inch long pea pods—in the mix." She also suggests using the cooked peas to make fried patties: Mash the peas a bit, season with minced garlic and onion and shallot, add just enough flour to bind the mixture, form into patties, and fry in bacon fat.

snix makes a slightly more complex dish, which he serves with rice: Sauté chopped onion, garlic, and celery in some bacon fat; add the peas, a ham hock, a bay leaf, and salt and pepper, and cover with stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook 45 minutes to an hour.

For a meatless alternative, try CHOW's Simmered Black-Eyed Peas with Tomatoes.

Discuss: Black eyed peas

Overheard on the Home Cooking Board

"If you can get them, I highly recommend water-cooked bamboo shoots packed in plastic. The product I buy, unlike tinned bamboo, is not cut, and consists of a large, soft bamboo shoot. I cut it myself into my desired size and add it to my dish while cooking, and the taste and texture are excellent." – vorpal

"In cooking, as in many things in life, consistency is everything. That chicken might look, smell, feel, and seem done, but there's no way of knowing until you check it with a thermometer." – jefskil

"Cook's Illustrated pie crust [uses] vodka. Never fails. Will make you look and taste like a culinary savant." – ipsedixit, on his favorite pie crust recipe

The World’s Greatest KC BBQ Video

Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne's got great flow, much love for his hometown, and an appreciation for barbecue that is ironclad and awe-inspiring. Below, in a video for "O.G.," he raps prolifically about 'cue, focusing on the food of local legend Ollie Gates: "I'm hella fine like the food at Ollie Gates / Strawberry baked bean mixed plate." Calvin Trillin, eat your heart out. READ MORE

Paper Wine List, Meet iPad Wine List

A few days ago a friend and I sat down to dinner at Barbacco, a San Francisco restaurant that happens to be known for its wine list. Our server came over to greet us, and pointed out the menu (this we knew how to use) and handed us a $500 piece of equipment (this we didn't know how to use). It was an iPad, and it was also the wine list.


Repeat After Me: Very, Very, Hot

Have you been gringoed? Do you order your food super spicy but end up being served food that barely makes you sniffle? There's a perception that "foreigners" don't really like spicy food, says PeterL. So if you're not the same race as the proprietors of the restaurant, you might have a hard time getting your spice fix satisfied.

"What you need to do is establish a relationship with your favorite restaurant. Once they get to know you and your taste, they'll get over that perception," says PeterL. therealdoctorlew uses this phrase: "I want it the way you make it in your country. I want it too hot for an American to eat." ipsedixit offers a tip that worked quite well and spawned a life-long friendship: "I ask the owner/chef if he (or she) enjoys spicy foods," says ipsedixit. "If the answer is 'yes' then I offer to buy him his favorite spicy dish on the menu—made exactly the way he likes it. My only request as part of this offer is that I get the same exact dish for me."

"I would reiterate the importance of becoming a 'regular' at a resto or two. If they know you, they'll come to know your tastes," says Perilagu Khan. "I would also encourage making direct eye contact with your waiter or waitress when asking for the heat, using a forceful tone of voice and even using your hands to stress the high level of heat you want."

Discuss: Spicy Etiquette

Upscaling the Doughnut

The Monte Cristo sandwich doughnut at Dynamo Donut & Coffee is somewhat flatter than a normal jelly-filled, and its yeasted dough contains minute bits of ham and shredded Gruyère cheese. Bite into its powdered-sugar-dusted body, and blobs of strawberry jam fall out. And that’s just the beginning. If you’re the type who feels strongly that doughnuts should not cost $3 apiece, and definitely should not contain things like rose water, five-spice, Gruyère, or thyme, stay far, far away from Dynamo Donut. READ MORE

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

This week, I opened my CSA box to find piles and piles of "garlic for drying." My first thought was, "As opposed to ... wet garlic?" READ MORE

Trying Our Hand at Video

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Talking about the upcoming CHOW Tour. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Consistently Great Sichuan Peppercorns

Russel Shank buys his Sichuan pepper at a local Chinese market, but it doesn't have any of the numb-and-tingle that the spice is known for. How can you get really fresh, intense Sichuan peppercorns?

This is one time you might bypass your local spot. "I find that spices from dedicated spice purveyors who stake their reputation on their merchandise, rather than local Chinese markets (which are very good for many things, don't get me wrong) are a much better bet," says bushwickgirl. She gets hers from The Spice House: "wonderful customer service and quality products," she says. Caroline1 recommends World Spice. "I find World Spice has exceptional quality for the price as well as carrying things I can't find anywhere else," she says. And another option is Penzeys—top quality, if more expensive.

A final tip from Pei: "I've had better luck getting that numbing feeling using Sichuan peppercorn oil," says Pei.

Discuss: where to find GOOD QUALITY sichuan/szechuan/szechwan peppercorns?

Port 305 Starts Strong

CocoDan has a policy of never going to a new restaurant for a few months in order to give the kinks time to work themselves out. But he just so happened to be at Port 305 during the first hour it was open, and he declares that "this place is hot, and will be the haunt of choice for those that can't stay away from the waterfront."

Port 305 is owned by Kristie Henriksen of Siros and has a similar vibe: resorty, upscale, black-and-white, a big bar with incredible views of the water, covered outdoor seating.

The menu has an American comfort food vibe: tuna melt, mac 'n' cheese, chicken wings, steak. Dan's party had the fried clams with french fries and an Asian-influenced coleslaw, and lobster sliders with barbecued baked beans.

"I definitely recommend it, but get there soon before the summer crowds discover it," says Pegmeister.

Port 305 [South Shore]
305 Victory Street, Quincy

Discuss: Never Say Never!