News about Matthew Amster-Burton

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  • Matthew Amster-Burton Aug 30 7:28 AM - Comment
    commented on Wok this way.

    Hi, Ken. I know the pan you’re talking about, and it doesn’t stir-fry very well unless you have a very hot gas burner. I’d recommend getting a carbon steel wok (which you can find new for under $30 or used for $10) or a large carbon steel skillet (which your local Goodwill probably has for $5).

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Aug 26 4:02 PM - Comment
    commented on Open sesame.

    Hi, anonymous #14. Here’s a store that sells a 1-pound bag of black sesame seeds for $3.45 plus shipping:

    They’re not from Japan, however. It doesn’t state the source, but they’re probably from India, which is by far the largest sesame exporter. They’ll work fine in Japanese cooking, though, I’m sure.

  • Linda Harris Jul 19 10:35 PM - Comment
    left a note for Matthew Amster-Burton
    Hungry Monkey goes to Tokyo!
  • Matthew Amster-Burton May 28 10:00 AM - Comment
  • Matthew Amster-Burton May 19 6:52 AM - Comment
    commented on Open sesame.

    You don’t. It has to be done commercially.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Nov 1 9:57 AM - Comment
    commented on Get your sear on.

    Lisa, I think the answer is just very high heat. I’m terribly inexperienced at grilling, so my advice there is probably no help, but for a restaurant-style sear on fish, you really need to crank the stove up all the way and let the pan preheat for several minutes. When you put oil in the pan, it will shimmer and start to smoke almost immediately. It’s very hard to burn fish, especially the flesh side, so turn on the fan, mute the smoke alarm, and go for it.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Apr 22 10:31 AM - Comment
    commented on Fresh Udon Noodles.

    Hi, anonymous. I doubt it matters much, but udon are supposed to be very chewy, so I’d recommend the bread flour.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Dec 21 6:20 PM - Comment
    commented on Open sesame.

    Why roasted? Because they taste better. Freshly roasting your own is the tastiest, but commercially roasted seeds can be quite good. Also, you can lightly toast them again to bring out the flavor.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Dec 19 6:57 AM - Comment
    commented on Open sesame.

    Anonymous, a good source for sesame seeds is an east or south Asian market with finicky customers and lots of turnover. Sesame seeds have the hull removed for appearance, mildness of flavor, and better storage properties, but I prefer seeds with the hull on. A little bitterness is fine with me.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Dec 18 7:53 PM - Comment
    commented on Open sesame.

    If it tastes lousy, it’s rancid. You can sometimes smell if it’s off, but you can’t beat a taste test.

    White sesame seeds with hulls aren’t particularly brown, more beige.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Nov 6 3:42 PM - Comment
    commented on Wok this way.

    Hi, Gabrielle. I find it’s really easy to burn the aromatics, and if you add them at the end, you minimize their contact with the hot pan. Yes, traditionally it’s done the other way. I don’t know what the trick is. (If any readers know, please divulge!)


  • Matthew Amster-Burton Oct 28 9:48 AM - Comment
    commented on Wok this way.

    Brian, you’re not going to believe this, but I have exchanged email with the hand-hammered wok guy. Major (wok-)brush with greatness.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Sep 23 9:25 AM - Comment
    commented on Wok this way.

    anonymous, a stainless steel wok is problematic at best. It won’t season up into a natural nonstick coating, so some foods will always stick, especially to the sides. I’d consider a cheap carbon steel wok or a cast iron skillet.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Jun 28 8:22 AM - Comment
    One-pot cooking
  • Matthew Amster-Burton Apr 15 8:18 AM - Comment
    Nori glory
  • Matthew Amster-Burton Mar 30 11:43 AM - Comment
    commented on Madam, I'm Adam.

    Adam, it’s great to see you writing for Culinate. I still make your milkshakes all the time. Even in winter. Possibly this afternoon.

  • Matthew Amster-Burton Mar 18 11:57 AM - Comment
    commented on Japan, a week later.

    One other thing I mentioned during the chat is that my favorite Japanese tea supplier,, is in Fukushima prefecture. The owner is fine and his office wasn’t badly damaged, and he’s working hard to get his business back online. I have no relationship with this company other than as a satisfied customer, but I’d like to see their business survive, because the product is phenomenal. If you like green tea, I hope you’ll join me in ordering from them once they’re back (follow @bestgreentea on Twitter).

    If you’re not sure what to buy, I recommend the Kagoshima Sencha Sae Midori.


  • Matthew Amster-Burton Mar 3 7:44 AM - Comment
    commented on Living lard.

    Hooray for lard!

    One note: boxed lard is partially hydrogenated and contains trans fats, but it’s still mostly monounsaturated fat. Also, it doesn’t have much flavor. Still, though, it makes a pretty good pie crust.

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