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.
When to throw meat away is a common question, and one I often ask when faced with meat sitting in the fridge after a few days. With vegetables, you can usually tell on sight (or with this guide) when they're past due, but meat is not as simple.
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.
Sometimes you've got a head of lettuce that you want to eat but it lacks a certain youth. In other words, it's wilted and browning at the edges. Other times, you get to the grocery store near the end of day and the only lettuce or greens available look a little on the sad side. Never fear. You're not doomed to a meal of fast food or mouthfuls of soggy salad. You can easily revive those leaves and have something crisp, green, and delicious for your next meal, so don't dump it in the trash.
There are so many kitchen gadgets that only do one thing. You can buy a special tool to strip the kernels off an ear of corn, de-stem your strawberries, or cut bananas into perfectly uniform slices, but that's all it'll do. It's easy to get carried away, and before you know it you find yourself designating an "everything" or "miscellaneous" drawer. Then there are the tools that have multiple functions, but you know you'd never use them often enough to justify spending the money. Unless you co...
Sourdough is a delightful twist on your traditional bread, but creating and maintaining a sourdough starter can be a headache for many home bakers.
Whisking liquids seems somehow quaint, especially since there are good, cheap devices out there like immersion blenders and hand mixers that can whip cream, turn egg whites into meringue, and mix batters for you.
We're all familiar with the sinking feeling that happens when you cruise through a recipe, only to arrive at an instruction that calls for a tool you don't have. Some of the best food hacks (and my personal favorites) exist to combat that problem. Why spend money on a kitchen tool—or worse, avoid a recipe altogether—when you could find a new way to achieve the same result?
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 ...
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?
Boxed brownie mixes advertise their convenience compared to homemade brownies—with only a few ingredients, they promise a moist, chocolatey crumb. However, these "instant" mixes still require fresh ingredients and a baking time that matches that of homemade brownies. When you're craving a chocolate fix but you're coming up short on eggs, oil, and time, don't despair: you can still make brownies using a can of soda. Two Different Methods, One Soda Required
Hummus seems like it should be easy to make, but creating that ideal creamy consistency can be pretty difficult. Often it comes out too chunky, which means your hummus won't be good for dipping into. Luckily, there is one trick that will help you create the creamiest consistency and make you never want to go near store-bought hummus again: add baking soda.
Hard as it is to imagine, there are people out there who loathe garlic and onions. Some might have allergies or medical conditions like IBS, or are supertasters (i.e. people who carry a certain gene that makes them extremely sensitive to how certain foods taste). Others might just be picky eaters.
I don't deep fry food that often, mostly because it uses a ton of oil, which is expensive, and the cleanup is a son of a mother. (That oil really splatters everywhere.) Plus, no matter how careful you are, you will get hit by hot oil at some point and it will not be pleasant.
There are a ridiculous number of onion varieties, so choosing the right onion can make my head spin sometimes. With four distinct types of "green onions" that all look almost the same, I'm guessing you have the same issue—but not once you know the secrets to identifying and properly using each of these green onion types.
It goes without saying that a pizza stone is one of the keys to making a perfect pizza. The science behind pizza stones is relatively simple: the stone conducts and holds heat, which keeps the oven temperature steady even when a cold ingredient (such as an uncooked pizza) is introduced. This not only helps the pizza cook more evenly, but also allows the bottom to get crisp.
French toast is one of those things that everybody kind of knows how to make, but few people know how to do really well. And while the dish originally does hail from France (its original name, pain perdu, means lost or wasted bread), it has become a beloved American breakfast dish.
Fresh herbs are a surefire way to enhance a dish, but buying them at the store each time you need them is costly. Luckily, growing your own herbs is a lot easier than it seems: You can even using cuttings from the herbs you already buy to start your own little herb garden.
Even though I often end the workday exhausted and just want to wrap rotisserie chicken parts in a store-bought tortilla and shove it in my eating hole, I generally try and take a couple of minutes to warm up said tortillas before I begin my meal. But if you're starving, do you really need to take the time? Do warm tortillas really make that much of a difference?
Taco Bell's in the news for umpteenth time, and today the controversy is over their infamous beef taco meat. Gizmodo leaked a picture of Taco Bell's "Taco Meat Filling" and surprise, surprise— it's missing a lot of the "meat" that it claims in its advertisements. Taco Meat Filling Ingredients
Dried fruit makes a great snack or salad topping, but after a while, they tend to become fossilized, rock-hard versions of their former selves. At this point, most folks probably just toss them out, as they're unpleasant to chew on when eaten raw and even more unpleasant to eat in bread or cooked with other ingredients.
You're in the middle of cooking and a car alarm, cute kitten, or neighborhood brawl made you step away from the stove for a few minutes longer that you should have. It happens to almost every home cook. Most of the time, nothing dramatic happens, but every now and then, you end up with something like this:
Living on a budget often means compromising what you want for what you need—or at least, for what's affordable. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to compromise on flavor, especially if you know the right tips and tricks to make something spectacular out of the ordinary.
Microwave popcorn promises so much—a tasty, relatively healthy snack that's ready in minutes—yet it rarely delivers. Most of the time you'll end up with a scorched bagful or a bunch of stubborn un-popped kernels, but it doesn't have to be that way. With a few simple tricks, it's easy to get perfectly fluffy, tender-crisp popcorn every time.
I'm an impulsive baker, which means that the instructions to "bring ingredients to room temperature" make me want to kick myself for not thinking ahead. Sure, some ingredients like milk or water you can heat up, but that means messing up an extra pot or pan.
Frosting, for many, is the best part of the cake. There's not much to dislike about it, after all—there's a type of frosting for every person. Whipped frostings for those who like it light, dense buttercream for indulgent sugar fans, cream cheese frosting for the tangy crowd... and so on. But I'll bet you've never made or tried frosting made with Jell-O packages before! Infusing your frosting with the sweetness and bright color of Jell-O changes both its taste and appearance, and using Jell-O...
It's a small but very real frustration: you want a chilled drink, but you open the freezer only to see nothing but empty ice trays. Fortunately, there's a simple way to make ice cubes quickly—use hot water. Yup, you read that correctly. Hot water freezes more rapidly than cold.
Poor chickens. Bacon fat is revered (and justifiably so), and duck fat is a staple at most fine grocers. Marbles of fat make a steak divine, and goose fat is the holy grail of fatty goodness. Yet chicken fat is usually thrown away.
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!
If you have ever attempted to mix and shape your own meatballs or burger patties, you may have endured bits of meat continuously and stubbornly sticking to your hands. This can make shaping more challenging than it should be.
Aluminum foil is one of those things that every cook, experienced or just starting out, has in their kitchen. And while we may think we know how useful this handy material can be, there are hundreds of ways we could be utilizing tinfoil to make our lives a whole lot easier.
No matter which brand you buy, microwave popcorn never tastes as good as its movie theater counterpart. Even if you pop it yourself on the stovetop and drizzle it with real butter, it doesn't have the same flavor. That's because movie theaters don't use real butter—their popcorn has one secret ingredient that gives it that distinct taste.
In my opinion, there is nothing in the culinary world as satisfying as cutting into a steak, and seeing that you've cooked it to perfection. Even if you're one of those bizarre people that prefers their steak medium or well done (hey, no judgement... okay, fine, a little bit of judgement), it's culinary heaven when you realize that you achieved the perfect doneness on your steak.
Greek yogurt has always been in my regular snack rotation. Packed with more protein than plain yogurt, it fills me up and stabilizes my energy with its low levels of carbohydrates and sugar.
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...
Pizza. It's seen you through your best and worst times. It was there during your first relationship and the subsequent dumping. It got you through college, and maybe even your twenties. Domino's phone number is programmed in your speed dial, and though you won't admit it out loud, you love pizza, you really do.
When I first started cooking, if I saw lemon juice or zest in a recipe, I almost always left it out. Unless it was a main component, I never thought it made much of a difference in the overall flavor of the dish, but I couldn't have been more wrong.
A flat soda tastes awful. It's almost as bad as drinking a room temperature milkshake. Of course, you can always opt to buy single-serving cans or 20 ounce bottles, but that's always going to be more expensive than 2-liters.
Lemon peels have long been known for their ability to be home remedies for cleaning and medicinal needs. In the kitchen, they are equally as useful and can transform many common dishes and drinks into more memorable ones with just a hint of citrus. To give you some ideas, below are five ways that lemon peels can spruce up your recipes.
We've already taught you a few tricks for getting chilled, rock-hard butter to spread easily on toast, and some of you probably bypass that issue entirely by purchasing spreadable butter from the supermarket. But why waste your money when you can make a healthier, tastier version at home for a fraction of the cost?