Your Friday Moment of Zen

Your Friday Moment of Zen

Illustration of shrimp

[Illustration: Biodiversity Heritage Library]

You did it! Another week down!

We’re putting up a post very much like this one every Friday afternoon, to celebrate the fact that the week is done. Down with work! Up with not-work!

We think of this series as something of a send-off for the week, giving you the option of a brief interlude for your Friday afternoon. Of course, if your work week is just starting, or if you’re still in the thick of it, think of this as a pick-me-up for your personal hump day, or as a nice way to kick off your weekend shifts.

We hope to provide a short mix of mostly silly, mostly food-related, mostly entertaining things to look at, listen to, and read, and we hope you’ll find it amusing, and maybe, sometimes, edifying and enlightening. We also see it as an opportunity to go over some of what’s new on the site, which you, dear readers, may have missed.

If you have feedback, or if you run across any interesting/oddball/totally crazy stories/podcasts/images/videos during the week that you think may be appropriate for this little collection of miscellany, email us! We can’t guarantee that we’ll use it, but we will 100% appreciate the effort.

What’s New on Serious Eats

You can, of course, browse all our content in reverse-chronological order. But for you, on this day, some highlights:

  • Kenji popped up this week to drop his sea urchin pasta recipe; it’s a lot like carbonara, though uni nuts will likely think it—gasp!—better.
  • Kenji also re-released the first of several Food Lab videos that were recorded in 2015, after which they were unfortunately hidden behind a paywall. But now they’re free! The first one is all about that most important food group: cheeseburgers.
  • Stella came to the rescue of nursing moms everywhere who have suffered through eating some decidedly un-tasty lactation aids, offering recipes for both vegan and nonvegan lactation cookies that are a legitimate treat. They may or may not help with producing mother’s milk, but all of us here at SE HQ can attest to their deliciousness.
  • Sasha has high hopes you’ll finish out tomato season like a champ with his take on a Roman warm-weather classic: rice-stuffed roasted tomatoes with potatoes.
  • Finally, we’ll leave you with a local’s guide to the dining scene in Portland, Oregon, by contributing writer Danielle Centoni, which motivated each and every one of us to check the fares for cross-country flights.

Our Favorite Comments of the Week

From Stella’s recipe for toasted sugar:

Who knew that stirring the toasted sugar would be as satisfying as raking a zen garden…only more gratifying and more delicious…

From “Our Updated, Not-So-Secret List of ‘Banned’ Words” (part of our in-house style guide, which we made public because we thought people would be interested!), a typo that’s sweet like the sweetest sea flesh:

Please cut this crab about teaching people manners (because yes, this is what you are doing here, although the list is supposedly for SE writers).

From a fan of Stella’s lactation cookie recipe on Twitter:

Dang it, Stella, please travel back in time about five years ago and launch this recipe straight at mah boobs.

From a commenter (who we are frankly quite worried about) on Facebook, in response to “Clam Juice: The Insta-Stock You Should Keep in Stock”:

TBH, I’m pretty sure that clams are ocean boogers. We canna muscle past the gag reflex.

A Brief Book Break

‘Fresh is best’ seems to be the most overused statement when it comes to fish. The truth is, the reason that most people enjoy eating fish straight off the back of a boat is because it pretty much tastes of nothing.

Very similar to a just-slaughtered cow, a freshly caught fish carries very little to no aroma or flavour. Dry-age that cow, however, and you enhance both its taste and consistency by reducing moisture and breaking down the enzymes within the animal protein. The same is true of dry-aged fish: though the desire here is not to break down any connective tissues as it is for meat but to reduce the level of unnecessary moisture present within the fish to heighten its flavour. Much like ageing beef, the ageing process for fish requires the same controlled environment where the temperature and humidity levels are carefully monitored.

The optimal storage conditions for fish are the same as for dry-ageing, which is why storage and dry-ageing go hand in hand—with dry-ageing you store select fish in these conditions for longer. Some fish are not suited to dry-ageing, but they will appreciate the same careful storage conditions as you would create for dry-ageing.

From The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think by Josh Niland, a remarkable book (with absolutely stunning photographs) that makes a strong case for both using every part of a fish and treating fish like meat.

Food Numbers, News, and Hijinks

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

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