Cutthroat host Alton Brown knows the ultimate grilling sabotage. “Easy,” he says, “a dirty grill. When grills get dirty, they don’t conduct heat properly. Food will wind up sticking to the surface and will take on the flavor of the grill.” Proper grill cleaning and upkeep will prevent this from happening. If your food does get stuck, though, get the grill hot, then lightly saturate a paper towel with oil and, using tongs, swipe it gently over the surface of the grate. Brush your grill down well once you’re done cooking every meal so you’re not stuck cleaning right before dinner next time.
Alton Brown may be spending most of his time on the set of Food Network Star or Cutthroat Kitchen, but there’s always time for a cocktail. He gave us the low-down on his favorite drink for summer, told us which trends he is totally over and answered how you can best stock your at-home bar.
What cocktail trends are you over?
Alton Brown: I’m over anything that involves a cheese-stuffed olive because I don’t like cheese in my booze.
A traditional Moscow Mule calls for vodka mixed with lime, sugar and ginger beer. This version infuses even more ginger flavor by simmering ginger grounds with maple syrup (you can also make your own brown sugar syrup) before stirring in lemon juice and vodka. Top with club soda and garnish with a piece of fresh ginger.
If your recipe calls for a fancy ingredient, don’t skip the recipe, simply swap the costly item for another less expensive alternative. Our supermarket expert Nicole Cherie Jones chatted with Beth Moncel, author of Budget Bytes, Gabi Moskowitz of brokeassgourmet.com, Carrie Robinson of thefrugalfoodiemama.com and Amy McCoy, author of Poor Girl Gourmet, to find out how you can save hundreds of dollars at the grocery store and still nail recipes that call for pricey ingredients.
1. Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms are pricey at $5 to $8 per ounce, and they’re also elusive. Save up to 95 percent with baby bella (cremini) mushrooms that register at only 38 cents per ounce.
Trisha Yearwood entertains family and friends in her backyard all summer long. The Grammy winner is a pro at making big-batch recipes that will feed a hungry crowd. From ribs to chicken, follow her easy solutions for summer recipes that’ll be sure to satisfy your group.
Farmers markets are starting to see more and more produce as the summer season takes off and the weather heats up. From tomatoes to corn and all kinds of summer squash, put these ingredients to use while they’re in their prime.
These quick and easy treats use a few store-bought ingredients to save you time in the kitchen. From frozen pie crusts to instant pudding and more helpful shortcuts, supermarket staples mean you can have a gourmet dessert any night of the week.
Sure, a microwave is great for reheating leftovers, but did you know your countertop appliance was originally invented as a quick-cooking replacement for the conventional home oven? Research on radiation during World War II resulted in the realization that microwaves could cook food faster than regular ovens. Most microwave recipes are developed for units with 800 to 1,200 watts. The higher the wattage, the faster things will cook, so if your microwave is super powerful, it will cook your food significantly faster. Of course there are definitely a few foods you should never experiment with in the microwave: whole eggs, grapes and raisins, and chocolate-hazelnut spread (the high fat content makes it spark), but there are also many things the microwave does incredibly well. These recipes and tricks will inspire you to use your appliance for more than just reheating.
Think outside the Easter basket this holiday and make a sugar-cookie bunny hutch to hold all your favorite candies and chocolates (thanks to a detachable roof). These step-by-step photo how-tos will make baking and building this cookie creation a fun activity for the whole family. Kids can help mix the dough, hold the paper templates on the dough while adults cut, and cut out the cookies with cookie cutters.
With the new season just beginning it’s time to start thinking about spring-cleaning, your kitchen included. Getting organized means less time spent searching through your cabinets for key utensils or ingredients. That means less time in the kitchen overall when you need to get dinner on the table on a busy weeknight. From spices to baking tools, Vivian Jao put together her top tips for getting the most out of your space.
1. Your Pantry
Make meal planning easier with a well-organized pantry. Assign designated areas for different kinds of food, like baked goods, breakfast items, boxed goods and canned goods. Label these areas or shelves as a reminder for when you’re unpacking groceries. Designate a section for quick-cooking meals, like mac and cheese or canned soup, for when you just need to grab something in a pinch.