If you’re making a sauce, soup or stew with meat, a layer of fat will probably appear on the surface. To remove it, position your pot halfway off the burner: The fat will migrate to the cooler side. Then gently lower a ladle onto the surface of the fat (try not to disturb the surface too much or you’ll stir the fat back in). Better yet, if you have time, chill the dish: The fat will congeal and you can scoop it off.
Pop quiz: How many boxes of cereal are in your pantry? Assuming that you’re sitting on a surplus like most families, we have just the recipe for you: cereal brittle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with vegetable oil. In a saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until amber, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup cereal (we used a mix of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Kix and Cheerios); pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread with a rubber spatula. Let cool completely, then break into pieces.
When you’re making burgers, meatballs or other ground-meat dishes, combine equal parts of beef or pork with a leaner meat like turkey or chicken. You’ll save on fat and calories without sacrificing flavor and texture. We mixed ground beef with ground turkey for Food Network Magazine‘s Light Shepherd’s Pie — if you go all-turkey, you lose that great beefy taste.
We thought we had seen it all in the fake-food world, but crafters are cranking out something new and totally irresistible: crocheted snacks. Inspired by the popular Japanese art of amigurumi (crocheting small dolls and toys), American knitters have been dreaming up all sorts of fun meals, like this burger, dog and fries ($12/hot dog, $22/burger and fries; etsy.com). You can find free patterns online, or better yet, learn from the pros: This month, three big knitting stores — ImagiKnit in San Francisco (imagiknit.com), Purl Soho in New York City (purlsoho.com) and The Little Knittery in Los Angeles (thelittleknittery.com) — will launch food-design crochet classes.
Sunny, what is the perfect rub for slow-roasted pork butt and ribs? John R. Verdensky via Facebook
The butt, or shoulder, is my favorite thing to slow-roast. Pork accepts flavor really well, so it’s fun to tailor the seasoning blend to your meal. The easiest is my grandma’s recipe, which is just Old Bay, sweet paprika, garlic and onion powder. I also like pumpkin pie spice blends or curry blends with plenty of salt and pepper. For ribs, I’m a daughter of the Carolinas, so I lean toward vinegar in my sauce. Or try rubbing the ribs with a blend of chili powder, lime juice and honey. —Sunny Anderson
Food scientists think they’ve found a way to extend the life of fresh produce: Shock it in warm water. Researchers at The Cooking Lab, a research facility started by Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold, report that submerging fruit and vegetables in hot water slows the production of the gases and enzymes that turn them brown. Just fill a large pot with hot tap water (between 122 degrees F and 131 degrees F) and soak the produce for two to three minutes. Then drain, dry and refrigerate it as usual. Your fruit and veggies might taste better, too. W. Wayt Gibbs from the lab says that, in the study, they found a slight increase in crunchiness.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)