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

Man’s Best Dining Buddy

Here's something that's likely to be both the saddest and sweetest thing you read all week: a farewell from a food critic to his faithful canine sidekick.

Overheard on the San Francisco Bay Area Board

"… a giant bowl of Gulf crawdads in an elegant fish broth with small potatoes, hunk of corn on the cob, house-made sausage, and a shrimp and tofu-based dumpling on the bottom." - CarrieWas218 on Chef Nick's version of a crawfish boil at izakaya restaurant Nombe

"Thin as crepes and very tender, these richly eggy pancakes just melt in the mouth. I understand they’re made from scratch from a family recipe." - Melanie Wong on Swedish pancakes at Zini's Diner

"The bass was incredible, perfectly cooked, ultra-sweet, and perfumed with floral muskiness of the finely minced cuttlefish and zucchini." - daveena on the stuffed black bass at Oliveto's recent Oceanic Dinner Ingredient Substitution List

A list of ingredients followed by possible substitutions. READ MORE

Virtual (Noodle-Based) Insanity

Perhaps you remember Jamiroquai, the techno/acid/jazz/funk band best known for their 1997 hit video Virtual Insanity. Not ringing a bell? It's the one shot in a white room with furniture sliding disconcertingly all over the place. The video's lead singer, Jay Kay, is wearing a crazy black hat and sliding around with the aforementioned unnerving furniture. If you haven't seen it, watch it now. It's pretty good.

Beyond the Sesame Seed Bun

Chowhounds don't stick to traditional burger buns for their homemade creations. They do, of course, gravitate to other buns and rolls, such as kaiser or ciabatta rolls or brioche buns. Toasted English muffins are a classic, and many use other kinds of bread as well.

Several hounds are fans of griddled Texas toast, which is extra-thick-cut white bread. Here's a special method one developed: First FoodFuser trims the crusts, then coats one side thinly with mayonnaise, sprinkles on sesame seeds, and toasts in a cast iron pan. The other side gets toasted dry and used as the inside of the souped-up bun. Texas toast freezes well, FoodFuser says, "where regular buns lose their upper surface texture. You can get full use of the entire loaf."

Rye bread is traditional for patty melts, but hounds like all kinds of burgers on toasted rye. iluvtennis recommends buttered, broiled jalapeño-cheese bread, and onceadaylily says, "Garlic bread burgers are amazing, and so sinful." newfie29 likes chili burgers in pita, saying it "keeps everything in one gooey place--divine."

Discuss: bun alternative for a superb burger?

Grilled Tofu with Loads of Flavor

Grilling lends great flavor to tofu, especially when the tofu is marinated in and basted with a flavorful sauce.

diesel recommends these grilled veggie and tofu stacks with balsamic and mint, which are "really easy and really tasty" and make great sandwich filling, he says.

goodhealthgourmet marinates tofu in a combination of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, scallions, and ginger, and brushes it with a glaze of sesame oil, wasabi, and honey before grilling. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. cheesecake17 likes a marinade of lemon juice, fresh chopped herbs, a splash of red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

More ideas for marinating and basting include pesto, ponzu sauce, and peanut sauce.

Discuss: Looking for more grilled tofu ideas

Green Enchilada Sauce Two Ways

There are two general types of green enchilada sauce, says alanbarnes. The New Mexico style is made with green New Mexico chiles (Anaheims are an acceptable substitute), while most sauces from the interior of Mexico are based on tomatillos.

alanbarnes, who hails from New Mexico, makes green chile sauce by sautéing onion and garlic in a bit of oil, then adding green chiles that have been roasted, peeled, and chopped, and optionally Mexican oregano and cumin. Add chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes, then purée (alanbarnes uses an immersion blender). Start by making it too thick, alanbarnes advises, then thin it to your desired consistency with more stock, which is easier than reducing it. "This sauce is not just for enchiladas," he notes. "Cook meat in it, use it to top eggs, ladle a bit onto a cheeseburger—the sky's the limit."

Tomatillo-based enchilada sauces tend to include onion, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. tecatefil makes sauce by boiling a pound of husked tomatillos in 4 cups of water until soft, and puréeing them with 2 cups of the cooking liquid, half a large onion, 4 cloves of garlic, half a bunch of cilantro, and jalapeño to taste. Heat a couple of tablespoons of lard or neutral oil, add the puréed mixture, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

chef chicklet uses chicken stock to simmer the tomatillos, sautés the other ingredients, and adds them to the simmering tomatillos, puréeing it all with an immersion blender. Others prefer to roast or broil the tomatillos instead of simmering for an extra layer of flavor.

Discuss: Anyone have a good green enchiladas sauce recipe?

Overheard on the Home Cooking Board

"Every year when sour cherries are in the market I put up a couple of quarts in maraschino liqueur. I've tried other combinations of sour and sweet cherries and different kinds of alcohol, but this is the one combination I make over and over again—perhaps because I use them mainly as a garnish for Manhattans." – JoanN

"I have good success with them in a little summer salad. I usually cook and then combine with chopped tomatoes and raw corn off the cob, and toss with a simple sherry vinegar vinaigrette and whatever herbs are handy (basil, parsley, and mint all work)." – umphilly on fava beans

"There's a basic sauce that is nothing more than (I think) a 2:1 ratio of fish sauce to minced bird chiles. Keeps forever in the fridge and adds a rocking hit of salt, funk, and heat to tons of dishes." - eight_inch_pestle

Does Fish and Chip Ice Cream Go Too Far?

What have we come to, when bacon-flavored sweets no longer prompt even a raised eyebrow? Thankfully, there are still savory-sweet frontiers to push and provocateurs willing to push them: UK-based ice cream producer Frederick's Dairies has unveiled a fish and chip ice cream. It might go well in a sundae with raw horse-flesh ice cream.

A step too far? Here's what the masters of the realm of frontier-pushing have come up with:

  • Heston Blumenthal's bacon and egg ice cream
  • Homaro Cantu's Kentucky fried chicken ice cream
  • Ferran Adria's foie gras ice cream, and his delectable Parmesan ice cream
  • Wylie Dufresne's ice cream bagel (an everything bagel with cream cheese and lox, in ice cream form)
  • Thomas Keller's classy tomato sorbet
  • Grant Achatz's applewood ice cream (made by steeping smoked sawdust in milk)
  • What's the weirdest savory ice cream flavor you've come across lately?

    Tipping Homeless “Helpers”

    Tipping Homeless “Helpers”

    They open the door; you feel guilty. READ MORE