All Posts In How-to

Bakers’ Dozens: Perfect Crumb Cake

by in How-to, Recipes, April 15th, 2015

Leaving a trail of crumbs helps you find your way.

I joked as a kid that I would need to leave a trail of crumbs into the kitchen so my mom could find her way. She would swear she couldn’t find it. After all, she wanted to turn our kitchen into a library. No one in my family baked. We all had a passion for sweets. The only sweet things baked in my house were brownies from my Easy-Bake Oven. I had zero kitchen training.

My first real attempt at baking started with a classic coffee cake. Read more

Bakers’ Dozens: Raising the Bar

by in How-to, Recipes, March 25th, 2015

Pastries cut into bar-shaped pieces never really go out of style. When one food magazine writes a story about bars, every other food magazine fires back with its own take on these simple-yet-delicious bites of happiness. With a handful of recipes for crusts and toppings, you can easily make bar cookies completely interchangeable.

If you find a crust that you like, let’s say a shortbread crust, play around with the topping. Perhaps make a pecan, Key lime or lemon filling, or even a fudgy brownie bar, with an oatmeal brown butter crust.

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5 Spices and Blends You Should Be Cooking With

by in How-to, Recipes, March 23rd, 2015

Chicken Tikka MasalaYour spice cabinet may be filled with everything you thought you’d ever need, but perhaps it’s time to cook with more than the spices you always reach for. By integrating more exotic and compelling spices into your spice rack, you can work complex layers of flavor into your dishes, whether you’re slow-roasting a rack of lamb, simmering a curry or setting a tray of vegetables in the oven. With just a few pinches (or teaspoons if we’re getting really accurate) of these spices and spice blends, your dishes will be ignited with some serious chef worthy flavor.

1. Garam Masala

An aromatic blend of ground spices rooted in North Indian and South Asian cuisines, garam masala literally translates to “warm spice mix.” A typical recipe for Garam Masala can include cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, nutmeg and caraway, but there are many regional variations of this warming mix of spices. When Aarti Sequeira makes her Chicken Tikka Masala (pictured above), for instance, sauteing the garam masala in the skillet draws out the fragrance of the spice so it’s woven into every layer of the creamy tomato curry. Though you can use it to reproduce some of your Indian takeout favorites, you can also use this warming mix to bring marinades, sautes, meats and more to life.

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Everything Must Go! 10 Ways to Put Forgotten Ingredients to Use

by in How-to, Recipes, March 22nd, 2015

Chocolate Ganache CupcakesDon’t think you’re getting out of this one. Even if it doesn’t feel like it in your neck of the woods, spring is officially here, and that means it’s time for some old-fashioned spring cleaning. Before we even get into deep-cleaning the floors, the shower or — dare we say — that closet of yours, you should be getting your kitchen ready for the season ahead. Tackle your fridge, pantry and freezer head-on by addressing common bought-and-forgotten foods. Instead of straight-up tossing them, put these ingredients to use in fam-favorite recipes (if they haven’t gone past their expiration dates).

1. For the bottle of chocolate syrup you bought that one night you were craving chocolate milk

Let’s take a wild guess: The big brown bottle has been sitting in your fridge door for months, heavy as ever, with no chance of being used any time soon. Think of Ina Garten’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes (pictured above) as a delicious way to fix that. It calls for 16 ounces of chocolate syrup, meaning you’ll likely use the whole bottle up by making her decadently chocolatey, coffee-spiked recipe.

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5 Essentials to Guarantee Not-Sad Desk Lunches

by in How-to, March 5th, 2015

5 Essentials to Guarantee Not-Sad Desk LunchesDining at your desk can feel sad — like eating Thanksgiving dinner with plastic utensils. (The food may be delicious, but the circumstances make it less so.) But there is a way to make eating last night’s leftovers actually pleasant — and I’m not talking about investing in one of those annoying bento lunchboxes that never have enough room for the main part of the meal. Over the years, I’ve come up with five essentials that bring dignity to lunch at work. Here’s what I always have on hand.

1. A Low, Wide White Ceramic Bowl: White because most food — even a baked potato — looks good against it. Low because it can work for salads, soups, grains or a piece of chicken. And ceramic because it can go in the microwave (cold leftovers just invite depression).

2. Real Cutlery (i.e., a stainless steel fork and spoon): They don’t have to match, so grab those oddball orphaned pieces from your silverware drawer and put them to good use. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s also a scientifically proven fact that nothing (other than North Carolina barbecue served in a Styrofoam container) should ever be eaten with a flimsy plastic fork.

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Where to Start and What to Make: The Kitchen’s Guide to Culinary Basics

by in How-to, Shows, February 28th, 2015

Fettuccine AlfredoFrom learning how to hold a knife to remembering how long to cook each shape of pasta, gaining proficiency in the kitchen takes practice, but no matter where you are in your culinary journey, it’s never too late to master the basics. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian shows off his secret to making a classic mother sauce, and luckily for fans, you don’t have to be an Iron Chef to pull it off successfully. In fact, this béchamel is a cinch to prepare in a hurry, and it shines in this 30-minute Fettuccine Alfredo (pictured above).

FN Dish caught up with the co-hosts between takes of this episode, and the cast told us that when it comes to getting comfortable in the kitchen, it’s best to begin with the simplest, most-tried-and-true dishes — whatever those may be for you and your family’s tastes. Read on below to hear from all five chefs to learn how to get started.

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Bakers’ Dozens: Into the Deep … Freeze

by in How-to, Recipes, February 27th, 2015

Have you ever given any thought to taking your desserts into another zone? The below-32-degrees zone?

Almost nothing is off-limits when I bake. I let my mind go in many places and see where it lands. Often, it’s in the freezer.

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11 Ideas for a Red Hot Valentine’s Day

by in Holidays, How-to, February 11th, 2015

In the early 1930s, the Ferrara Candy Company created the famous Red Hots cinnamon candies using the cold panned candy method. The inventors probably never imagined that the candies, which have become a Valentine’s Day staple, could be used in so many ways. All of these ideas utilize one 6-ounce theater box of the candies. Browse the full gallery for all 11 spiced-up homemade Valentine’s Day treats.

Red Hot Strawberries
Red Hots melt perfectly into a smooth syrup that can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, including these candy-coated strawberries (pictured above). Boil 1 box of Red Hots with 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). Use a candy thermometer to monitor. Carefully dip skewered strawberries into the candy. Let cool completely.

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In the Kitchen With: Lisa Fain, the Homesick Texan

by in Books, How-to, Recipes, February 5th, 2015

The first thing you notice about Lisa is her cowboy boots. Cherry red, spit polished and worn-in just enough, they tell you everything you need to know about the Houston transplant’s cooking: It’s bright, approachable, comes from the West and will linger in your memory for days afterward. To bring some welcome variety to the winter kitchen, we invited the James Beard Award winner to our Manhattan headquarters in Chelsea Market to make Chicken Spaghetti, one of her favorite dishes from her latest volume, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table. Make this simple and comforting recipe in your own kitchen with help from Lisa’s step-by-step how-to.

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25 Essentials for an At-the-Ready Kitchen Kit

by in How-to, February 3rd, 2015

25 Essentials for an At-the-Ready Kitchen KitMy friend just finished renovating his apartment. He’s all moved in, but his stuff isn’t yet; it’s still in storage.

Next time, I thought, using an unfortunate technique known as hindsight, wouldn’t it be good to pack a separate emergency mess kit, just for use until everything is unpacked? A few essential cooking tools might help break up the days and nights of consecutive delivery pizza, Chinese takeout meals and bologna sandwiches. I kept the list spare enough that you’d retain the desire to unpack, yet diverse enough to cover the bases for cooking. Choose smallish items. Pack them into a plastic box that can also serve as a dishpan and you’re set for the next time you renovate, or move, or spend time in a vacation house furnished only with a butter knife and a salt shaker.

Here are the 25 things. Just add food.

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