Hot Food Hacks Posts

How To: Why You Should Always Save Parmesan Rinds

There are certain ingredients that chefs regularly use to elevate their food beyond the status of what us mere mortals can create. Shallots are one. Good, real Parmesan cheese is another. And the rind of that real Parmesan cheese just so happens to be one of the culinary world's biggest kept secrets.

How To: Make Garlic-Infused Olive Oil & Vinegar at Home

Garlic—it stinks so good! It's one of nature's most wondrous foods, being both delicious and incredibly healthy. What's not to love? Well, it is kind of a pain to prep, whether you're peeling a couple of cloves for a sauce or a whole head and trying to mince it finely. One way to get around the whole peeling and mincing issue every time you want garlic in a dish is by buying pre-made garlic-infused olive oil, except that stuff is pretty pricey. Learn to make it at home and you'll get all the ...

Food Tool Friday: Is Vintage Cast Iron Better Than New?

Cast-iron cookware breeds a strange kind of obsession. When I got my first pan, I spent untold hours seasoning, cooking, researching the best non-soap methods to use for cleaning, and re-seasoning that thing. Finally, I became exhausted by the whole process and realized that you can skip seasoning a cast-iron pan as long as you use it regularly and clean and oil it properly in-between uses.

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?

Hot vs. Cold Brew Tea & Coffee: Which Ones Are Better for You?

Cold brewing tea and coffee are all the rage, and for good reason: they're idiot-proof. I, personally, am a total dunce at brewing coffee. It either ends up strong enough to peel paint from a car or so weak that you can see through it. Meanwhile, I have friends who inevitably brew green tea to the point where it's painful to drink it.

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: The Easiest Way to Smoke Food Without a Smoker

There's something primal about the smell of smoking food. Somewhere deep in the recesses of our souls, we remember a time when humans only ate by the fire. Or perhaps that's just something I tell myself. Either way, it's hard to smell smoke and food and not feel like you should be eating. And, as chef Edi Frauneder said in a recent Saveur article, "Grilling is convivial. There's something about this act of coming together over an open flame that just says vacation."

DIY Rehydration Drinks: How to Make Your Own Electrolyte-Enhanced Water for Cheap

While it's easy to make fun of water with "electrolytes," there's actually some science behind it. Despite the name, electrolyte-enhanced water isn't all that high-tech, it mostly means that it's been infused with vitamins and minerals such as potassium and sodium, which are very helpful in preventing dehydration. Unfortunately, electrolyte water isn't especially cheap, and compared to the tap, it's downright expensive. Luckily, there's a few recipes out there that can help you mix your own e...

How To: 5 Reasons Why You Should Always Keep Stale Cereal

It happens to even the most avid cereal eaters: sooner or later you open a box, unfurl the crinkled plastic bag, and find that the cereal inside is stale. Maybe you forgot about it, maybe you ate it too slowly, or maybe you just found a new, better cereal and left it behind like Andy left Woody. Either way, the crunchy goodness is now stale, and you grab the box and walk to the trash can. Stop!

How To: Easily Separate Fat from Stock, Soup, or Meat Drippings

I love making stock. It's thrifty because you get extra use out of poultry bones and vegetable peelings, plus having homemade stock on hand makes so many things taste better, from soup to stews to pasta sauces. If you deglaze a pan, homemade turkey stock, booze of some kind, and butter will create an eye-rollingly good sauce in mere moments. One task I do not love? Figuring out how to skim the damn fat off the stock (or soup) after I've made it. It's necessary to skim the fat as you boil down...

Decoding Produce Stickers: The Hidden Meaning Behind Fruit & Vegetable Labels

Like Costco's price codes or the tags on your bread, the numerical codes printed on those sticky little fruit and vegetable labels can reveal a lot of information to us consumers. Once you understand the codes, you can look at that little label (also known as PLU, or "price look up" label) and know whether the produce you're about to buy or eat was treated with pesticides, genetically modified, both, or neither. Before we go any further with deciphering the codes on these labels, let's take a...

How To: Shuck an Oyster Without an Oyster Knife

There are few kitchen tools as elusive as the oyster knife. Many people—even seafood lovers—don't own one. If you do own one, it probably gets used so infrequently that it gets sent to the very back of the shelf where it proceeds to get lost. Then you accidentally find the knife once a month when you don't need it, but can't for the life of you find the sneaky little thing when you do need it.

How To: You've Been Wasting the Best Part! 5 Delicious Uses for Your "Empty" Nutella & Peanut Butter Jars

Some food jars seem like they're actually designed to prevent you from enjoying every last bit inside. The remnants of sticky foods like Nutella and peanut butter are almost impossible to scrape out with a knife or spoon, and it's a shame to throw out something that tastes so good—especially when it's the best part. A spatula could help you get that last drop out from the walls or bottom easier, but that's just ruining your chance at maximizing the full potential of those remains into somethi...

How To: Use Cake Flour to Get Pillowy Soft-Baked Cookies

For those of you that prefer a soft-baked cookie that is fluffy in the middle, using cake flour instead of regular all-purpose (AP) flour is your secret baking weapon. "But I don't have cake flour," you protest. Fear not: if your kitchen is sans cake flour, you can easily whip some up by mixing together AP flour and a little bit of cornstarch for the same results.

How To: Make Your Pasta Even Better by Throwing It in the Sauce Before Serving

As a kid, my mother would always bring the noodles onto the table in a colander, then bring the pot of sauce she cooked separately. So I grew up with the idea that pasta and sauce were two separate entities that you combined table-side, and continued to eat pasta that way well into my adulthood when cooking at home. It was only much later that I realized the error of my ways... that pasta could taste so much better than I had previously imagined.

How To: Use Up Lettuce & Other Greens Before They Go Bad (Without Making Any Salads)

I love me some salad, but I'm also kind of a big baby when it comes to eating them. The greens have to be perfectly crisp and fresh, which is why I'm such a nut about storing them properly, including rethinking how I use my refrigerator, using a paper towel or dry cloth to wrap them, or even puffing a little CO2 into the plastic bag to keep them fresh. I've even developed an arsenal of tricks to restore life to soggy greens.