The thing about a kitchen is that no matter how diligent you are about keeping it clean, no amount of counter-wiping, dish-washing, or leftovers-eating is ever going to combat the inevitable clutter. Kitchens come with stuff — which is probably why you have a Pinterest board full of pantry organizing ideas, all promising a neater, more efficient space (plus, they’re just really cool to look at). We asked four bloggers with fabulous pantries how they keep things tidy, and we suggest you steal all of their genius ideas.
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By Angela Carlos
This week on Chopped Teen Tournament, we saw four young cooks compete for the chance to move on to the grand finale. You could feel the pressure rising as they used their experiences, both inside and outside the kitchen, to inspire their dishes. In Round 1, it wasn’t immediately clear what the teenage cooks were going to come up with using saucisson en croute (a fancy pig in a blanket), quinoa, white harissa and seaweed salad, but they figured it out, and Lyanna and Thomas even received a special nod from the judges for their restaurant-quality plating styles.
Quinoa has become increasingly popular over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest food to cook. As we saw, not all of the competitors were able to cook their quinoa to the judges’ satisfaction. Like rice, quinoa requires some know-how if you want to achieve that tender, fluffy (not mushy) texture.
Fall is almost here, and the time for braises, roasts and slow-cooker stews is just around the corner. One of my favorite secret weapons for adding flavor and depth with nary an extra calorie is preserved lemon. Preserved lemon, or “lemon confit,” is essentially a pickled lemon that gets chopped up and used as a condiment. The flavor is intensely lemony, bordering on sweet, and it’s more briny than citrus-acidic. You’ll see preserved lemon in many North African recipes, and once you try them, you’ll find a hundred ways to add them into your cooking.
By Angela Carlos
This week on Guy’s Grocery Games, things got cheesy while the chefs competed for the chance to shop for $20,000 in Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Market. In each of the three games, cheese was the focus. The chefs demonstrated their expertise in working with this ingredient by incorporating triple-cream cheese into ice cream bases and using shredded Gouda for a crunchy frico. In the first game, the chefs added everything from pungent blue cheese to classic cheddar into ooey-gooey comfort food dishes.
Not surprisingly, more than one contestant chose to go the macaroni-and-cheese route in Game 1. Here in Food Network Kitchen, we took note of their triumphs and shortcomings in attempting to produce the ultimate macaroni and cheese for the judges. With some tips from the show, as well as a few of our own, we’ve put together a checklist for making the ideal bowl of rich, molten cheese with macaroni.
The appetizer mystery basket on the week’s episode of Chopped Junior was truly challenging. What were our young contestants supposed to make with arctic char, cotton candy, dandelion greens and tiny ice cream bites? But, as always, our pint-sized chefs were super-clever. To balance the sweetness of the cotton candy and ice cream with the bitterness of the dandelion greens, almost all of them made a sweet-and-sour dressing or sauce to toss the greens in. But what did remain a challenge was cooking the arctic char — a fish that looks like salmon but is actually related to trout. It has a milder and cleaner flavor and is more delicate than salmon but is still high in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. We saw most of our contestants’ fish fillets fall apart right in the pan, with soggy skin. Because arctic char is expensive, you definitely want to cook it properly.
This Earth Day, food recovery is the hot topic on everyone’s docket — and for good reason. Recent research from the USDA revealed that over one-third (30 to 40 percent) of our food supply goes to waste each year, while studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that we could feed over 25 million Americans living in food-insecure homes if we were to reduce food waste by just 15 percent.
In light of these figures, there are now a number of programs dedicated to food recovery. Just last September, the USDA and the EPA teamed up to tackle the nation’s food waste epidemic and announced the first-ever national food waste reduction goal: To cut food waste in half by 2030. It may sound lofty, but the organizations have already seen great success with their joint U.S. Food Waste Challenge, which provides a platform “to assess and disseminate information about the best practices to reduce, recover, and recycle food loss and waste.” By the end of 2014, the challenge had over 4,000 participants, well surpassing its goal of 1,000 participants by 2020 — and also proving that you don’t need to be a political ecologist or a policymaker to affect positive change.
Guy Fieri gave another four contestants the chance to reverse their fortunes on this week’s episode of the Guy’s Grocery Games redemption tournament. In the first round, they were all sent out into the aisles with ridiculously tiny shopping bags to stuff full with ingredients for a fried feast. Naturally, a couple of the contestants gravitated toward fried chicken, so here’s some fried-chicken wisdom from Food Network Kitchen:
If you’ve ever been to a nice breakfast buffet, you may have stood before a toque-wearing chef wielding a shallow pan, a ladle and a bowl full of beaten eggs, producing perfect omelet after perfect omelet. While you nibbled your bacon (perhaps that’s just me), you marveled at the ease with which he used his spatula, the way he knew just how much filling to put in and the way he flipped or rolled it up at the end, the cheese and vegetables completely encased in perfectly cooked fluffy eggs. Read more
Thanksgiving comes along but once a year, so you’d better make the most of this great American holiday that hinges on eating all that is good. If your goal is to make it to the pumpkin pie without losing your cool, start the day with a sensible eating plan so you don’t reach capacity before the feast even begins.
Spatchcocking: Tyler Florence’s Revolutionary Technique for Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey in 90 Minutesby Michelle Baricevic in Holidays, How-to, November 19th, 2015
Three hours. On average, that’s the amount of time it takes to adequately cook a Thanksgiving turkey. Thanks to an innovative technique from Chef Tyler Florence, however, 90 minutes is all you’ll need this year. During an appearance at last month’s Grand Tasting at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, Tyler gave audiences a demo on spatchcocking a turkey. The process involves removing the poultry’s spine and flattening its breastbone, which not only cuts cook time in half, but also allows for greater heat distribution, making your bird juicier and crispier than ever before.