Hungry Onion Drooling Q&A with J. Kenji López-Alt. (Nov 11, 2016 11am PT)

Once you get to some basic quality level, technique always trumps ingredient quality. A bad cook is gonna make great ingredients taste bad. A great cook can make even plain ingredients taste good. But of course having access to great ingredients when you can get them is swell.

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That would be amazing. Colombian cuisine seems to be under-represented in North America. Do you get to eat lots of Colombian food at home?

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My favorite place is in my garden :slight_smile:

But I like the farmer’s market in San Mateo (Tuesdays) and Burlingame (Sundays). I do my everyday shopping at either the latin fruit and vegetable grocer down the street from me, or at the nearby Whole Foods or Safeway, depending on what I’m looking for. Sometimes the Marina market for Asian ingredients or Nijiya in San Mateo for Japanese.

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Well, I’m an omnivore that generally favors vegetables and fish. Not quite a pescatarian. I do have the occasional burger when the craving hits.

I do like Japanese-style simmered fish. simmered in soy dashi. yum. Or Sichuan-style fish boiled in chili broth.

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Thinking of asking for either sous vide or pressure cooker for Christmas, which is more versatile?

Academic journals, or well-cited food books. On Food and Cooking is an amazing resource!

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Yes. Once at pressure, pressure cookers do not boil like open pots do, which means that you get better flavor extraction AND better clarity.

The tomato thing actually surprised me most. One of the reasons we tested it so thoroughly is because when Daniel first reported his results, I was like “NO WAY!” So he tested again. And again. And again. Then I tested it myself as well. Turns out it’s true. In most cases, refrigerating a ripe tomato is better than leaving it at room temp. It was a shocker.

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Chef Zhao Bistro on El Camino has the best Sichuan food I’ve found in the Bay Area so far. Way better than anything up in the city. Around here I also like 31st Union, Chennai Club, and Rasa in Burlingame. The little Mexican restaurant around the corner from me (La Fonda de San Mateo) is probably where I go most often. It’s typical “hot plate” cal-mex food that is nicely done with incredibly friendly people running it. I always feel welcome there.

In SF I love Kin Khao.

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Not too much at home, though we do occasionally. We get down to Colombia a couple times a year though, and Adri’s family has some great cooks in it, so we eat well when we do.

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sous vide if you cook meat a lot, pressure cooker is more versatile for an omnivore or someone who likes grains and pulses like me, though. I’d take my pressure cooker over my sous-vide cooker if forced to pick.

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Your cooking is very science oriented, what do you think of molecular gastronomy?

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Hi Kenji, I’d like to buy my brother a REALLY nice chef’s knife for his birthday. I like the aesthetics of Japanese knifes. Also, he and his wife make a lot of Thai food in case that would make a difference. Any suggestions? Thanks!

That’s it folks! Thank you very much @kenjilopezalt for being with us today! Be sure to check out Kenji on his web site and on social networks!!

Have a great day everyone!

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Kenji, not a lot of questions. Just wanted to say thanks for coming on here and sharing your expertise. I do visit your site on occasion if I have some food science question I need to explore. You folks do a great job. Thanks again

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What a great beginning to the Q&A topics!

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I agree! At my house, we have a saying-- “In Kenji we trust” Seriously. And my husband is a chef.

I gotta go ask the farmer’s market vendor when they gather the eggs… The eggs from that farm always give me the most trouble peeling when hard-boiled.

I am really enjoying these Q & A’s. Thanks to HO for setting them up.

I am particularly intrigued by Kenji’s comments on Colombian food. We have probably more Colombian restaurants here (Houston) than any other SA cuisine and I’ve eaten at quite a few of them but I haven’t found anything really outstanding (our one, promising, more upscale Colombian place didn’t last long). So I will be looking forward to any forthcoming posts (on SE?) which will enlighten me. :yum:

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Kenji, I am of Chinese decent, love cooking. Married an American who was diagnosed with gluten enteropathy in 1972 when it was not a well known subject with very few ready made gluten free products. Mom used to deep fry with fine sweet potato starch back home, came out crispy and thus frying was no problem. However, one of our favorite is quick fry pork chops marinaded in soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, touch of five spice powder until I can smell its fragrance more garlic, & rice wine overnight then dried the chops, dust with sweet potato starch , and sometimes in egg white/ egg then back in sweet potato starch before pan frying. My husband now deceased loves gravy, I would throw away the oil, add wine/broth , reduce it, add that to his chips. However, my husband now deceased , I cook for my son. He does not like gravy, loves instead to add tabasco to these chops. I have tried using cast iron, enameled cast iron and now, just invested in many pieces of copper ( one recommended by Kaleo from Bottega de rame ) frying pan . Some of the flour still sticks to the various pans. Is corn starch better? I fry prawns ( without marinading) after i dip it in sweet potato flour, egg, and panic served with buffalo wing sauce and lemon but they do not stick! By the way, any advise on how to make that crispy beef? thanks a lot. Awaiting for answer.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr