Food Hacks Features

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.

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: Make Soggy, Wilted Lettuce & Other Leafy Greens Edible Again

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.

How To: Form a Makeshift Roasting Rack Out of Foil for Crispier & Healthier Oven-Cooked Bacon

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...

How To: What to Do When You Don't Have a Mortar & Pestle

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?

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 ...

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?

How To: The Only Ingredient You Need to Make Boxed Brownie Mix

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

How To: 5 Reasons You Need a Pizza Stone in Your Kitchen

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.

How To: Yes, You Can Make Frosting with Jello—And It's Amazing

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...

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: Tell if Your Steak Is Done Without Using a Thermometer

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.

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...