The CHOW Blog rss

Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Is Smoked Brisket Technically Pastrami?

What distinguishes pastrami from corned beef? It's all about smoke. Both deli favorites begin with brining brisket with spices and curing salt, but while corned beef is then simmered or roasted, pastrami is soaked, given a spice rub, and smoked. Corned beef is good, Chowhound FoodFire says, but "the smoke adds a ton of flavor" to pastrami. Hounds have tips to share on efficient brining, using the right curing salts, and which woods in the smoker help deliver perfect pastrami.

A Woman in SF Is Barrel-Aging Sriracha, and It’s Awesome

Lisa Murphy (above) came to CHOW's offices in San Francisco last year to show off some delicious ketchup she’d been making under the name Sosu. She was leaving soon for Southeast Asia—to do sriracha research, she said, eventually to produce some with a Sosu label. Lisa drifted back to my inbox last month, to tell me about her Kickstarter campaign and with something new to taste: barrel-aged Sriracha, the result of her vision quest in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. READ MORE

Where to Eat in Long Beach

With Modica’s deli sandwiches, Schooner or Later’s pancakes, and Enrique’s pork shank, living is indeed easy in Long Beach—and not just in the summertime. Here’s where Chowhounds pencil in a meal when they’re in the LBC.

Sous Vide for Beginners

Sous-vide cooking at home is now more accessible than ever, thanks to less expensive, temperature-controlled immersion circulators designed for use in your own kitchen vessels—but there's still a bit of a learning curve. Get tips on which cooking times and temperatures yield the best texture for various cuts of meat and vegetables, plus compare the most popular entry-level immersion circulators.

Slow-Cure Corned Beef with Kitchen Coach Aaron Rocchino

It’s hard to imagine a meat purveyor more locally rooted than Aaron and Monica Rocchino's The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, California. A longtime cook a block away at Chez Panisse (which now buys its meats here), Aaron sources whole, pasture-raised animals from ranches within 150 miles of Berkeley. He and his staff are fierce advocates for whole-animal cooking. Not only are they turning bones and trim and fat into stocks, sausages, and terrines (even cookies made with leaf lard), they also counsel customers about how to cook the cuts they won’t find shrink-wrapped at the supermarket. When we went looking for a Kitchen Coach to guide us through corned beef, we didn’t have to look hard. READ MORE

Great Dashi, Great Japanese Cooking

Dashi, the Japanese stock made from kombu (seaweed) and bonito flakes (fish), is a backbone of Japanese cuisine, like chicken stock in French cuisine. Find out how to make dashi easily—and where to get decent instant dashi if you're not inclined to make it from scratch.

Take Two at LA’s Twins Sliders

Cheeseburgers and spicy fried chicken sandwiches reign at Twins Sliders, a small shack on Sunset Boulevard that’s been serving up sandwich duos, fries, and milk shakes since last fall. The Hollywood location is going strong, but the second shop, on Fairfax Avenue, is currently moving to a yet-to-be-disclosed location.

Make Your Own Blood Orange Digestif!

We’ve been making the boozy after-dinner drinks known as digestifs since 2008, when we published DIY projects for six sweetened sips flavored with citrus or herbs. “Digestifs really are the easiest and most rewarding things to make,” says CHOW’s Chris Rochelle, who’s been at it again in the Test Kitchen, this time with blood oranges. Making a blood orange digestif is a simple process of steeping peels in pure grain alcohol for about six days, then straining and sweetening—all you really need is patience. Next week, Chris will show you how to add rich simple syrup to a finished infusion. But for now, here’s what you’ll need to make your own blood orange digestif: READ MORE

Hot Dog Pancakes: Funky Snacks from Your Past

Since 2006, one discussion in particular has been burning up the Chowhound Home Cooking board. Recipes You've Never Heard of Outside Your Family is an ongoing collection of offbeat things users grew up eating, from funky processed-food mashups of the 1970s to quirky snack obsessions of the 1980s. CHOW’s Chris Rochelle is photo-documenting some especially vivid snacks in the discussion thread. Today’s funky family snack: hot dog pancakes, from Chowhound fredamoon. READ MORE

How to Care for Copper Cookware

Whether you spent a bundle or got a great thrift store deal, get a quick primer on how to care for your functional-but-delicate copper cookware. Learn what tools and temperatures will keep your hardworking beauty safe and intact for years—until it's time to re-tin.