How To: Make Easy Homemade Buttermilk, Sour Cream, & Crème Fraîche

Cultured dairy products are great for topping chilis and soups, stirring into dips, and adding tanginess to breads and pancakes. They're extremely versatile and often interchangeable, and they contain probiotics that offer a long list of health benefits. They're also super easy to make at home with just a few basic ingredients. Here's how to make your own buttermilk, sour cream and crème fraîche.

How To: 10 Easy Tricks to Make Store-Bought Pasta Sauce Taste Homemade

There's nothing better than real, homemade tomato sauce, but to really develop the flavors, it usually has to simmer for a few hours. And while it's totally worth doing if you have the time, some nights it's just not an option. That's where the pre-made stuff comes in. Jarred pasta sauce certainly doesn't taste the same, but it's really easy to dress up when you need something quick. If you don't want anyone to know your "secret recipe," here are 10 ways to make store-bought spaghetti or mari...

How To: 8 Tricks That Make Boxed Cake Mix Taste Like Homemade

Ask ten different people how they feel about boxed cake mixes, and you'll likely get ten different answers. Some baking purists will berate them and throw them in the same category as garlic presses and knife sets sold on infomercials. Many people will say that they prefer not to use mixes, but keep one in the pantry just in case. And I dare you to find a college student that doesn't sing their praises.

Velveting Meat: The Best-Kept Chinese Restaurant Secret

One of my favorite things about American Chinese food is how easy it is to eat: the pieces are bite-sized, the flavors are addictive, and the meat is always tender and easy to chew. But if you've ever tried to replicate any of your favorite takeout in the kitchen, you've likely noticed that the high heat required for most recipes thoroughly dries out the meat that you're trying to cook.

How To: Don't Have a Special Cupcake Pan? Here's How to Bake Cupcakes and Muffins Without One

Love or hate 'em, you've got to admit that cupcakes really had their moment. They started rising in popularity back in 2003 with the opening of Crumbs Bake Shop in Manhattan, and quickly became one of the most annoyingly ubiquitous food trends to date. Seriously. Type "cupcake" into Google. While I wouldn't turn it down if you put one in front of me (red velvet, please), I can't say that I was particularly disappointed to hear that the cupcake trend is coming to an end. I'm more of a cheeseca...

How To: Thaw a Frozen Steak in Minutes

It's a basic law of cooking: whenever you're really craving something, you don't have it. All you want is a glass of wine? Chances are you finished the bottle while braising meat last night. Want nothing more than a sandwich right now? Yep, you finished the bread with breakfast. You'd kill for a steak? They're all in the freezer, and you don't want to wait while they thaw; you want your steak now.

How To: 10 Reasons Why Drinking Gin Can Actually Be Good for You

Alcohol isn't exactly considered a healthy lifestyle choice; more often than not, it's associated with empty calories and bad decisions. But that doesn't mean there aren't a few benefits to drinking in moderation. In fact, gin is a liquor with a wealth of potential benefits to offer. So read on, and discover ten ways in which gin might actually be a good drink for you.

How To: Ripen an Avocado in 10 Minutes or Less

Summer cookouts and barbecues come with a lot of delicious foods, but to me, there's nothing better than dishes heaped with avocados. From guacamole to simply eating an avocado right out of its skin, I devour this fruit constantly—but it's one that can be tricky to find perfectly ripe.

How To: Make Delicious Thai Sticky Rice Without a Steamer or Rice Cooker

If you're a fan of Thai food, I'm sure you're familiar with sticky rice. There is something so special about its chewy texture and sweet flavor. If you have a desire to make it in your own kitchen but don't have the proper tools such as a traditional bamboo basket or stackable steamer, there are several other methods that work just as well. Once you try these alternative methods, I'm sure you'll be "sticking" to them for a while. What Makes Sticky Rice So Sticky?

Forget Baking Soda: This Trick Is Way Better at Deodorizing Stinky Fridges

Smelly foods are what make my culinary world "go 'round," so to speak. I grew up with fish sauce, learned to cook with and love fermented beans and veggies, and am one of the biggest garlic advocates I know... other than my husband, who thankfully shares the same smelly food sensibilities. (Let's put it this way: anyone that can stomach stinky tofu can handle anything I could possibly cook up.)

News: Why Cold, Leftover Pizza Always Tastes So Damn Good

Cold pizza is the holy grail of leftovers. That's a statement that elicits a slew of impassioned feelings. Either you love the idea of biting into soft crust and cold, fatty cheese, or scowl at the idea of pizza that isn't hot, crisp, and melty. Yet if we were to stand by the former sentiment, how would we argue on its behalf? Food Science Explains Why Cold Pizza Rules

How To: Dry Fruit in Your Oven—No Dehydrator Required

Dried fruit makes a great, healthy snack by itself, and it's a nice addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Most people assume you have to have a dehydrator to make it at home, but you don't really need one unless you plan on drying fruit pretty frequently. Your oven does the job just fine. Drying fruit in an oven is a pretty simple process: just bake it at a low temperature for a long time. It's usually cheaper than buying dried fruit from the grocery store, and a great way to use extra fr...

Real Brain Food: What Geniuses Actually Eat, Part 1

It's common knowledge that certain foods foster brain development, health, and memory. Fish almost always makes the list, as do any foods that are loaded with antioxidants like blueberries, nuts, whole grains, green tea, and dark chocolate. Spices like turmeric are being studied for their ability to prevent Alzheimer's, among other things.

How To: Ripen Bananas Faster with These 3 Simple Tricks

A trip to any grocery store's produce section will quickly reveal that bananas are often picked from the tree well before their prime—which is necessary for them to arrive at our local store without going bad. In fact, bananas are refrigerated en route to our supermarkets in order to stave off the ripening process... which makes sense, since they travel quite the distance (from the Tropics around South America or Africa to our proverbial doorstep).

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