Tell us what you have cooked lately (that's interesting)


I want those olives.



I am dead.

First up, the second half of Chinese food, which sated our appetites on Xmas Eve.

Clockwise from the top-left, we’ve got leftover white rice, some toasted peanuts, some slices scallions, the leftover Kung Pao Chicken. . . and the new General Tso’s Chicken, some steamed broccoli, the leftover veggie lo mein, and some freshly fried wonton strips.

Pictured: one buffet of wonders, plated.

I also made some Chinese Buffet-style “Chinese Doughnuts,” which, per the son of a buffet-owning restauranteur on Youtube, are just store brand buttermilk biscuits, chopped up, rolled into balls, deep fried, and tossed in sugar. Which is EXACTLY what I did. Yum!

Xmas Dinner:

The full spread, clockwise from the top-left:

  • Bourbon Pecan Pie
  • Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
  • Cheddar-Dill beer bread made with Sweet Josie Brown, topped with oats
  • Spinach Salad with sliced apples, toasted pecans, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and a maple-cider vinaigrette
  • Iraqi-Indian fusion chicken and veggie biryani with fried spiced potatoes, toasted almonds, and sauteed cashews (mixed in are mixed veggies, fried onions, sauteed golden raisins, the spiced marinated chicken, lots of ghee, rose water, and saffron milk, and of course basmati rice)
  • Sweet Potato Casserole topped with pecan streusel
  • 7-Cheese Mac n Cheese (cheese sauce with brie, goat cheese, extra sharp cheddar, and mozzarella; freshly grated asisago, pecorino romano, and parmigiano reggiano in the breadcrumb topping)
  • Herb-roasted, dry-brined turkey breast, sliced
  • Green beans sauteed with butter, olive oil, and fried shallots, with some slivered almonds on the side
  • Super buttery mashed potatoes with way too much heavy cream

Mulled wine with a nice rich merlot, orange peel and juice, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, honey, apple cider, and some decent-ass brandy.

Plate of doom!!!

Additional Food Porn Shots of Individual Dishes


Man that all looks amazing. I don’t post to say it near enough but rest assured you never fail to amaze.

But I have to know about the new General Tso! I know you previously used the Serious Eats recipe like I do. And it’s great if you adjust the sauce recipe amount way up, but I love the color on yours.


As you noted, doubling the sauce recipe is vital for using Serious Eats’ version. I’m also now subbing out half the dark soy sauce in the sauce portion of the ingredients for light soy sauce, and upping the sugar and vinegar a little each to compensate (it’s saltier and less sweet). End result is something closer to restaurant style orange-brown, rather than Kenji’s version’s usual near-black coloration.

Finally, I’m doing a double fry of the chicken, Korean style. Using bigger chunks of breast meat, as my family and I are largely white meat eaters, but I want to avoid tough meat that might occur with the usual bite sized pieces. One quick fry at ~330F to set the breading, about two minutes, then a five minute break, then one more fry at 375 for about a minute and a half to two minutes, or until done inside. Maintains crispness through saucing much better this way.

Also, thank you! I busted ass putting together tonight’s feast, but it was well worth it!

…even if the biryani was underseasoned a little… Dammit, lol


Armando, your stuff always looks so good. Are you a pro? Where did you train? And most importantly, how do you find the time?


Not a pro, and no real training. I worked at a Ben & Jerry’s for a few summers…

Just lots and lots and lots of time and trial and error over the last ~13 years or so ever since I got bit by the cooking bug. Lots of YouTube and Good Eats and online recipe hunting, too.

As for time…well, no kids helps, but more or less giving up video games helped more :-(

Thank you, man. I’m awake again and feeling kinda like a cripple now, heh. I think it was worth it, though.


Ohh, double fry. Not a bad idea. I don’t care enough myself to do all that but the wife is all about textures so she would probably like it.


So, I am a prolific slow cooker chef, but received an Instant Pot for Christmas. Does anyone have any go-to recipes that might knock the socks of someone the first time they use the Instant-Pot?

I will eat most things, but don’t particularly care for fish.


I suggest fish. Specifically throw some Surströmming in there. It will literally knock your socks off.


Add some nitrogen triiodide for a festive splash.


Ribs are the go-to first Instant Pot recipe. Use your favorite rub, stand them up on the trivet, throw a cup of water and some liquid smoke in and cook for 25 minutes. Quick release the pressure after 10 minutes. Sauce generously and broil for a couple minutes to caramelize, if that’s your thing. You can get fancier if you want but I like this recipe for its quickness and simplicity - two of the major Instant Pot selling points.


I dont use my instant pot for fancy stuff generally. I use it to fast cook a lot of the mundane stuff like potatoes and veggies. And if you want to quickly cook chicken breast for chicken salad, its great for that.


Now I’m wondering what sou vide chicken breast would be like in a chicken salad.


Armando, if I qualified for a puffy chef’s hat I would take it off for you. Bravo!


This will sound kind of boring but the most amazing things to me from pressure cooking have been long cook items normally: stock, any kind, bean dishes (lentil soup, mixed bean, bean based chili, etc,) things that take longer in a slow cooker, etc.

Pork shoulder, ribs and pot roast do even better in a pressure cooker than in a slow cooker. But seriously … chili and beans man. If you like anything at all bean related, there is nothing better than taking completely dry beans and 40 minutes later having -amazing- beans. Even less time for certain beans. No soaking required.


My wife and I hosted the extended family for the first time in our new home. I did an 11 lb standing rib roast (prime rib) with sides being provided by other guests (hash brown casserole, mac & cheese) I also made a veggie tray.

Standing rib roast was fairly easy to cook. Carving was a little tricky, as I only have my chef’s knife to carve (need to invest in a real carving knife) but I got the job done, slices weren’t super even, but it worked out.

Used the leftover rib to make beef stew on the 26th, with some leftover pieces cut up. Used the leftover veggie tray veggies as well.

Overall, things went pretty well, but I was pretty pooped after hosting all day. Still have dishes to catch up on tonight.


I love what the pressure cooker does to meats. So much better than anything other than Sous Vide. I gave up on my slow cooker because I never liked the results with any meat. While everything was always falling off the bone it still felt dry to me. The pressure cooker solved all that plus it’s a helluva lot faster.

My slow cooker is just sitting out in the garage, completely unused.


Mine should be, but I continue to like to use it for long and slow braising, pot roast especially. To be honest, that’s because I can usually lay a full roast in it lengthwise without having to cut it up, etc. My Instant Pot is just as big in capacity, but with a smaller diameter but taller vessel. I really should put it out in the garage.


As is my bread maker.


I really love the slow cooker. But because of my stupid feeding habits, it has become increasingly difficult to use. I have picky eaters. My girlfriend is a vegetarian. And kosher. Her son will eat meat, under certain situations. My son is the same, but doesn’t have to keep kosher. I’ll eat just about anything.

So the things I used to make in the slow cooker–generally large meals for a group–are impossible now.

I used to love making slow-cooker beef stroganoff. It was really, really good. And made the house smell incredible. But that doesn’t work now. So the slow-cooker is dormant most of the time, sadly.