For a lot of years when I made chili about half the time it would end up tasting like tomato sauce with beans in it. There is almost no greater disappointment in the food world than something called chili that tastes like tomato sauce with beans in it. The secret ...
The Perfect Sandwich
If you are ever in Florence, in Italy, you might find yourself standing in the giant crowd of tourist humanity that will inevitably be standing in front of the Florence Cathedral, also called the Duomo, or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. You know the one. Giant dome, white ...
Beef Stir Fry with Tomatoes, A Refinement
At the end of this tutorial on beef stir fry I suggest a variation of the dish involving the beef, tomatoes, scallion and garlic. Since we are at the height of the season for good tomatoes, today I have a refinement of that variation to report on here.
Recall that ...
Beef Stir Fry
Note: This is a repost of an old tleaves article with the same recipe. But I wanted it at the top of the page because it's the best food ever. So here we go.
Don’t be fooled. This is easy. You just have to follow a few simple ...
A few months ago I needed a new podcast to use to fill the time during my commute and on the recommendation of a friend of mine I picked up The Sporkful out of NYC. On paper this should be right in my wheelhouse. It's an obsessive mostly nerdy ...
10 More Things to Eat in Pittsburgh Before You Are Dead
Rather than fill some space with the standard patter, I'll just get to the point. Here is an extension of this already perfect list.
Fire Chicken Pizza
Among other great things, New How Lee has a dish called Chongqing Spicy Fried Chicken, or perhaps Chongqing Dry hot chicken. It ...
The Search for General Tso
Here is something that doesn't happen often: I am feeling nostalgia for Chinese-American takeout food. I don't necessarily mean the completely generic single brown sauce choose one meat, and two vegetables sort of Chinese-American food. But I might not use some of my normal grounds to object to ...
Chinese Braised Ribs
This is another one of my mom’s dishes. I grew up with this, but never really thought about how it was done. In college, I tried literally dozens of times to get this even close to right. Finally, with enough practice it just started happening. The keys are the ...
Latitude is What You Can Get Away With
Long time readers of previous web site will not be surprised that I have on occasion enjoyed ranting at length on the subject of food and its preparation. Perhaps because of this, I sometimes find myself giving advice on cooking in various forms. Having gone through the long process of ...
Ten Places to Eat in Pittsburgh, 2013
It's been a couple of years since I did one of these lists so here we go again. The food scene has changed a lot in Pittsburgh over the last ten years or so, but it feels like it is growing and changing even faster now than before. So ...
Some Food Shorts
Haven’t done a short snippet food roundup post in a while. So here we go.
Salt of the Earth
This place opened recently to a huge amount of hype and buzz, and I avoided it
for three reasons:
Hard to get in anyway. I have plenty of places to ...
10 Things to Eat In Pittsburgh Before You are Dead
The idea for this list came to me while I was at the “offal night” at Legume. I also figured it would make a good piece for the annual exercise in end of year top ten lists. Well, so much for that. My personal criteria for the items on this ...
The Dirty Dozen
A new store in the Dozen chain of cupcake bakeries opened near our office a couple of weeks ago. From my experience with their previous stores I could not think of a single reason to consider trying the new place. But, a few guys in the office have taken a ...
I Do Fusion 2: The Soup
I’ve always thought that the Chinese and Jewish cultures have some sort of subconscious bond. I’m not sure why I thought this, since truthfully I didn’t grow up around a lot of Jewish people. But there you go. Anyway, this soup is, I think, the natural expression ...
Making the Food Taste Like The Food
When I was a younger cook there was a period of time when I was trying to figure out how to make chili taste like chili. I gathered the spices and herbs that the recipes told me to gather and combined them as described. But the result always tasted like ...
Dinner in Half an Hour: Lamb Stew
This one is easy. Basically we’re going to do this recipe for pork stew except with lamb shoulder instead of pork, a bit of extra potatoes and parsnips, and just a plain set of herbs instead of chili peppers. That’s all you really need to know, but here ...
Dinner in Half an Hour: Mushroom Soup
Today a soup that I discovered accidentally. It’s influenced by a lot of Chinese and Japanese style soups that I have consumed over the years, but I can’t claim that it actually has any real authentic connection to those cuisines. I threw this together one night in a ...
Dinner in Half, Well Really About an Hour
Today’s recipe takes a bit longer because there is more prep, but once you get through that you can play two full games of Madden while you wait for it to simmer. We’re making a pork stew with chili peppers and lime. This is based on a recipe ...
The Illustrated Pot Sticker
We had folks over for one of our periodic Chinese dumpling parties. The food came out particularly well this time, and I managed to use my nifty Panasonic LX-3 to take pictures of some parts of the process. So here is an updated and hopefully slightly more useful version of ...
In Praise of Braise
Lately I’ve been trying to get a handle on a few basic techniques, one of which is braising meat. I’ve always had good luck with making stew but mixed luck with braising. After gaining some insight through failed practice sessions, I think I finally cracked the code this ...
The Rose Tea Effect
Long time readers will no doubt remember that my favorite Asian food restaurant in Pittsburgh is Rose Tea Cafe in Squirrel Hill. Rose Tea is so good that you can come back to Pittsburgh after a week in a city with a real Chinese Food community and eat there without ...
Stir Fry Rules
Today I made a perfect stir fry. This doesn’t happen often, I usually get some small detail wrong that throws the whole enterprise off. I thought I would celebrate by imparting upon you, my dear readers, the rules you need to keep in mind to make the perfect stir ...
Locavore (n): A person who eats local and fresh food, and is particularly smug about it.
This fall we happened to book a trip to San Francisco, where we planned to drop in on Slow Food Nation, the convention of the national Slow Food geeks. So we found ourselves in ...
I like pancakes.
I like them thick and fluffy and full of maple syrupy goodness. Unfortunately,
it’s hard to find good pancakes. So finally out of desperation, I stole a
recipe from Alton Brown. So now
I get pancakes like this:
Dottie’s True Blue Cafe
Dottie’s True Blue Cafe is a small place in San Francisco that sits right where the gentrification of Union Square ends and the Tenderloin begins. It is a neighborhood place that has become a destination through well-deserved appearances in every publication that has an opinion on where to eat ...
Legume is a new bistro-style restaurant in that increasingly glorious food corridor of Braddock avenue between the Regent Square theaters and the entrance to the Parkway East. I was suspicious of the place because the name conjures up images of a prison run by terminally smug pot-smoking NPR-listening hippy types ...
Hold That Recipe
Today I am inspired by the sauce I just ate. But I’ll get to that later. My story begins with a long standing conflict that I have with my lovely wife. Karen, in general, has the role of telling me what to cook. Left to my own lazy devices ...
Goulash and Other Things
Tonight a few recent discoveries, none all that long, but each very pleasing.
The Vacuum Insulated Thermos
These have changed the nature of our domestic hot drink management. After the initial purchase we went on to obtain three more of various different sizes. Combined with a nice electric pot for ...
Saturday in the Strip
It was another Saturday in the Strip. La Prima and Il Piccolo Forno were as full as always. Actually, they were even more full than usual, especially for a weekend in Janurary. There was coffee coming out of the cafe. There were baked goods and other food in the bakery ...
The Real Thing
The search for the true and authentic culinary experience occupies the mind of all of the food obsessed people of the world. Real Chinese. Real cheese. Real barbeque. Real sushi. The list goes on and on. Entire magazines and cookbooks dedicated to the objectively correct or best way to cook ...
I Sing the Dinner Eclectic
We spend a lot of time pontificating on food on this site. So much so that often we are accused of being "foodies" or "food snobs". I categorically deny this accusation. A more accurate representation of my position is that I am a "food hobbyist" or "food obsessed."
The main ...
Pan and Oven
Back when I first got my Tivo, I recorded too many episodes of a Discovery Channel series called “Great Chefs”. What they did was to send a film crew into a restaurant kitchen and tape the chef making a dish or two or three off of the menu. Being something ...
In the South Side of Pittsburgh, on 17th about a block and a half south of Carson Street is a small house with a green awning. Under the awning is a door and a sign that reads: DISH Osteria and Bar. From the outside, the door is just another door ...
Hot Dog Rules
I have an almost irrational fondness for sausage that extends even more irrationally to hot dogs. A good hot dog can be a thing of beauty and a stupendous culinary experience besides. A bad hot dog is at best sad and at worst something that will make you vomit in ...
P.F. Chang's: Why it's evil
Places like this represent a new trend in the marketing of what is essentially bad fast food towards a more lucrative audience.
A couple of years ago, my new job took me to a set of offices that were situated close to a new retail complex in the Pittsburgh area ...