Food Hacks Daily Features

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...

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: 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).

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: This Simple Trick Will Keep Your Bread Fresher Longer

Fresh loaves of bread from the bakery are both delicious and often free of the preservatives that come with buying sliced, bagged bread off the supermarket shelves. However, these same loaves of bread tend to become stale much more quickly when sliced. It's quite the dilemma, especially for those who want to avoid throwing away and wasting stale bread (or are tired of turning said stale pieces into breadcrumbs or croutons).

How To: The Ultimate Guide to Making a Kickass Meat & Cheese Plate

Whether it's college football, the NFL, basketball, soccer, or baseball, sporting events are prime opportunities to entertain. No matter what the sport, food that's easy to eat is a must. Your guests should be able to mingle, eat, and talk trash... all at the same time! So a meat and cheese plate—also known as a characuterie board— is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

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: Dehydrate Food Without a Dehydrator

I grew up in a rural town, and that meant that we dehydrated a lot of food. Even with a hungry family of five, there was no way that we could eat all of the season's tomatoes before they molded, or all of the orchard's apples before they grew soft, or all of the wild mushrooms that we picked. And so our dehydrator was always getting a good workout.

News: Flash-Freeze Anything with the Anti-Griddle

Essentially, the Anti-Griddle does exactly what its name promises: it turns things almost instantaneously cold when you drop them on its "grilling" surface. Unlike home methods of flash freezing, its staggeringly low temperatures (-30°F/-34.4°C) allows ingredients that normally can't be frozen—like oil or alcohol—to turn into solids in the wink of an eye. As you might imagine, this allows chefs to play with textures and tastes in a way that was previously unimaginable.

How To: Prevent Carved & Uncarved Pumpkins from Rotting

Pumpkin carving and decorating is a favorite pastime during this time of year. After you've carved an amazing design or face into a pumpkin or two, you want to show it off through your window or set it out on your porch for the neighbors to see. Without knowing the tricks to save your holiday pumpkins, they can turn slimy, moldy, and mushy in as little as three days.

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.

Better Than Brita: Water Filters with No Plastic Parts

I used a plastic water filter for years. Who wouldn't? It cuts down on buying bottled water, which, as it turns out, is pretty much the same as unfiltered tap water. Plus, bottled water is terrible for the environment and your wallet, too. Water that costs only pennies a day and actually was purified as opposed to just saying it was? That's a no-brainer.

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.