Ideally, wine would stay as perfect and delicious as the day it was first uncorked forever. But, thanks to a pesky process called oxidation, re-corked wine (no matter how you do it) pales in comparison to a fresh's bottles original magic.
One of the hottest trends in the food world right now is "spiralized" vegetables. I will confess that I am a bit suspicious of any diet or food fad that eliminates an entire food group for anything other than physician-ordered health reasons, but something really good has followed in the wake of the Atkins/paleo/gluten-free movements.
One of my favorite things to do when I visit my parents is cook. Aside from the fact that I adore cooking with my mom, there's something comforting about returning to the kitchen that I first started playing in 20 years ago. Nearly all of the tools and appliances are the same ones that I used as a kid, and the familiarity is palpable.
When I was a senior in college, I shared a two-bedroom, one bathroom, microscopic kitchenette suite with three other girls. We all loved to bake and cook but were fully aware that we were in for a crowded year. We needed to use space efficiently, which meant carefully picking what kitchen equipment was absolutely necessary. As a full knife set was out of the question, we settled on a Shun Classic Ultimate Utility Knife whose praises my father had sung for a long time.
When I finally saved up some cash and got my first good chef's knife, I vowed to do everything by the book: clean it properly, hone it regularly, sharpen it faithfully, stand by it in sickness and in health, blah blah blabbity blah.
When I first heard about the Thermomix, an all-in-one kitchen appliance from Australia, it sounded like an old SNL commercial parody: It slices! It dices! It heats! It kneads! Is there ANYTHING this machine CAN'T do?
Although I love a good kitchen gadget just as much as the next food writer, the truth is that my drawers are bursting with unused tools. I usually like to take the simpler approach to cooking and prepping, and for everyday cooking, I find that the best gadgets are usually the ones that do more than one thing.
A good chef's knife is a thing of beauty and, with proper care, a joy forever. It can totally change the way you cook and turn even the dullest prep work into a glee-filled task.
I have a lot of favorite kitchen tools. My seven-inch Global chef's knife is my baby. My pasta maker is my dance partner on any given Friday night. My girlfriend's stand mixer is my favorite toy in the apartment.
At first glance, the Big Green Egg looks like it was created by Dr. Seuss or some other whimsy-driven being, like Zooey Deschanel. And while this earthenware cooker may look cute, it produces serious results that can rival the best barbecue or grill. In fact, it's got quite a large cult following. Entrepreneur and former Navy serviceman Ed Fisher fell in love with the taste of food cooked in kamodos (traditional domed, covered earthenware vessels in Japan) and began to import them for sale in...
At its core, grilling is the simplest form of cooking. You create extreme heat, you put a piece of food on top of the heat, and then you sit back and watch the magic happen. Yet despite the inherent simplicity in grilling, there are a million ways to make it more complex, more unique, and, yes, even more flavorful.
Here at Food Hacks, we're very fond of finding ways to regrow food. That means taking things like carrot tops and leftover bits from garlic, onions, chives, and other herbs and aromatics to create mini reusable herb gardens.
Grilled cheese is one of my favorite foods, ever. However, there are times in my life when I haven't had access to a full kitchen, and it's pretty hard to make a good grilled cheese sandwich without one.
Meet the Wonderbag. The "first non-electric slow cooker" uses an insulated bag made of poly-cotton fabric, polyester, and repurposed foam chips. You bring your one-pot meal to the desired cooking temperature, usually via the stovetop. Then you turn off the heat, pop the pot into the Wonderbag, and it will continue to cook thanks to the retained heat in the bag.
It sounds like a dream come true: just press a button on your phone, and 30 seconds later, a machine produces a custom-made, ready-to-eat meal. Finally, science comes through for the truly lazy!
What's not to love about a glass of wine? It tastes delicious. It takes the edge off your day. It helps you and your guests unwind and lets the conversation flow. All in all, it's a beautiful thing. What's not so beautiful is having someone knock over a giant glass of red and leave an indelible stain on your carpets or furniture.
Food waste is a topic near and dear to my heart, but the truth is, no matter how dutiful we are about finding ways to double-down on food scraps, a lot of stuff goes into the trash needlessly.
Indoor electric grills are nothing new; George Foreman grills have been around for over 20 years now, providing healthy, smokeless grilling options for indoor use. Yet as nifty and fun as George Foreman grills are, indoor grills have never been considered a hot item for passionate and avid home cooks.
Bringing lunch to work or school is a win-win situation. You save money, you eat better, and you create less waste. But while the virtues of brown-bagging it are undeniable, it also gets kind of boring after a while. How many times can you shove a container of salad or noodles into an insulated sack before you say screw it and buy a $12 burrito for lunch instead?
At first glance, mandolines seem like such a good idea. After all, who wouldn't want a tool that can create picture-perfect and paper-thin slices of fruits and vegetables that would put even the sharpest chef's knife to shame? Your French fry game would never be the same. Salads would become works of art. Your casseroles would cook perfectly evenly, since the ingredients would be cut uniformly.
With all due respect to the fine folks at DrinkTanks, it's a little surprising that no one came up with their idea sooner. After all, last I checked, beer was pretty darned popular.
When you have a parent who cooks—and has you act as sous chef—the kitchen automatically becomes a less intimidating place. In other words, kids who know their way around the kitchen will most likely become adults who cook for themselves, which also means that they'll eat more unprocessed whole foods, save money, and maintain a healthy weight.
3D printing is getting closer and closer to becoming an everyday reality—which means revolutionary things are going to start happening for the home cook. Already there's a 3D printer that can produce edible tailored fruit and the Foodini, which can print full meals, including spaghetti and burgers. However, neither are available for purchase, and most likely won't be within reach of the average cook for years.
Kitchen tools are a personal thing. One hard lesson for me to learn is that just because something is popular doesn't mean that it's right for me. Take the slow cooker, for instance. Many rave about it, but I never cottoned to the thing. However, the more research I do, the more I think the pressure cooker might be a game changer for my cooking style.
One of the most mind-blowing meals I ever ate occurred when I was 12 years old. The main course and sides were good, if unmemorable, but my jaw dropped during dessert when my friend's mother whipped out a blowtorch—as in a bona fide welding torch from the hardware store—to finish off the crème brûlée.
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.
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.
Most people who cook end up having at least three or four different kinds of spatulas in their drawers. I personally have at least five. However, if I had to do it all over again, I would purchase only one, and that would be a flexible fish spatula.
Meat tenderizers are absolutely necessary when dealing with leaner, tougher cuts like flank or skirt steaks. And while fruit like papaya, kiwi, and pineapple contain enzymes that can tenderize meat, the results can be hit-or-miss, and impart a fruity flavor that you may not always want.
Like most people who cook in a small kitchen, I'm very wary of adding anything to my drawers and cabinets unless I'm sure it's going to be essential to my cooking arsenal or that it can be used in multiple ways.
A good, sharp knife is a cook's best friend, which is why there's so much passionate debate about what kind you should get. Most enthusiastic home cooks opt for a stainless steel knife, but it turns out there's a different option that the pros favor, and that's carbon steel.
Coffee is one of the world's most popular drinks, and its fans are also usually devoted to a certain method of brewing. Some love the Keurig, others the French press, and still others swear by cold brewing. However, one of the oldest and easiest ways to brew coffee is also one of the best. If you love coffee, you should really think about getting a Turkish ibrik (also known as a cezve).
Connoisseurs of hard liquor always face a dilemma: how do they chill their spirits without diluting the flavors? After all, if you've shelled out big bucks for a bottle of single malt, you really don't want to mess it up with an ice cube that has freezer burn. (As for refrigerating whisky, most people recommend against doing that: it can cause the whisky to "haze," or look clouded.)
Tagine is both the name of a cooking vessel and also the dish that is cooked within it. In fact, some might say tagines are the national dish of Morocco. These slow-cooked stews and braises, often combining meat, vegetables, spices, and dried fruits, have a character unlike anything I've ever eaten.
Salt is a miraculous substance. From the Ancient Egyptians to the Christian Bible, many cultures believe it to have mystical powers that can ward off evil, among other things.
Coffee lovers take their beverage of choice seriously. Some even go out of their way to find their own kopi luwak (cat poop coffee) just to see if it lives up to all the hype.