Food Hacks Features

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?

Polenta vs Grits: Why Grits Wins (Even When a Recipe Calls for Polenta)

Polenta can cause risotto-like anxiety for the most experienced cook. First of all, making polenta is time-consuming—it can often take upwards of 45 minutes (unless you use this shortcut). And in the midst of this long cooking time, you're constantly stirring to keep the polenta from becoming lumpy. Even after taking the utmost of care, the polenta can still turn out too loose, too firm, or too grainy.

How To: 10 Reasons You Need to Add Cinnamon to Your Coffee

Creamer, milk (whole or skim), sugar, or even butter—you've probably added at least one of these to your coffee to improve its taste at some point. If you're looking for something different, though, try a new twist with a dash of cinnamon. This sweet, sharp spice can do so much more than improve coffee's taste, and I've got 10 examples for you to consider.

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.

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...

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: Eat Boiled Crawfish

There may be no other crustacean with as many names as the crawfish: crayfish, crawdad, crawdaddy, mudbug, Florida lobster, spiny lobster, rock lobster, and freshwater lobster (to name a few). But no matter what you call it, there's no denying that it's a popular delicacy in the South and beyond.

How To: 4 Healthier Whipped Cream Alternatives

Whipped cream is one of the most iconic dessert toppings around, but the full-fat version is not the most forgiving when it comes to fat content. With the holidays just around the corner, learn how to spare yourself a few calories—especially if you love the creamy texture of whipped toppings!

How To: 10 Quick & Easy Herbal Drinks That Relieve Aches & Pains

When a headache strikes, I reach for the nearest painkiller. Forget closing my eyes, laying down, or even applying an ice pack—I seek the quickest and most immediate relief possible, and normally that comes in the form of pills. However, fast relief can be found from another, more natural source: herbal beverages. So if you're tired of popping pills when you have aches and pains, try some of these herbal drinks out instead.

Ingredients 101: How & Why You Should Clarify Butter

Unless you're vegan or lactose intolerant, butter is an indispensible ingredient. However, butter is no one-trick pony. It can take many forms that make it even more versatile and useful in the kitchen. Clarified butter has many advantages over regular butter—but there are certain cases where you shouldn't use it. More on that later.

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: Truss a Chicken (Or Any Other Whole Bird) With or Without Any String or Twine

You've probably seen someone in your family truss the turkey on Thanksgiving before roasting it, even if you don't recognize the word. To truss a bird or roast just means to wrap it up as compactly as possible before placing it in the oven, and it's usually done by tying it with string. Trussing a bird is a tradition that's been around for a long time, and a lot of home cooks do it religiously even if they don't know why. It's a highly debated topic with fierce supporters on both sides, but f...

How To: The Only Seasoning Your Cast Iron Pans Will Ever Need

Cast iron pans are a timeless treasure—they're an essential kitchen tool that will stand the test of time, and no home kitchen is complete without one. However, they do have a reputation for being difficult to care for... with arguments both for and against regular seasoning. In 2010, a blogger named Sheryl Canter claimed that she found the best way to season a cast iron pan that would keep the cast iron from rusting... or requiring re-seasoning! And after a few hands-on test by Cook's Illust...

How To: Make Delicious 3-Minute Meringues in Your Microwave

Meringues are a French and Swiss dessert made of whipped egg whites and sugar, and they are light, sweet, and crispy confections. To make traditional meringues, you beat egg whites into soft foamy peaks, and then keep whipping as you gradually add sugar until the peaks become stiff. Once you've reached the right consistency, you bake them at a low temperature in the oven for a long time. They take both technique and time.

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...