by J.M. Hirsch in How-to, January 26th, 2012
by Teri Tsang Barrett in How-to, January 24th, 2012
So you think you know steaks? Maybe you do.
But truth is, you probably only really know the particular cuts you buy over and over again. That’s good, but there’s a world of great beef out there to explore.
And many of those cuts (and by the way, butchers are creating new ones all the time) are far more versatile than you think.
You could spend ages learning the different cuts of beef and the various names for each (there isn’t nearly as much naming standardization as you would think). But I think it’s better to simply pick a cut you haven’t often prepared at home and start playing around with it. That’s how I learned to love flank steak.
First, the basics. Flank steaks are lean cuts from the rear side of the cow and are characterized by rich, deep, beefy flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Traditionally, London broils were made using flank steaks, though today any of the leaner, less tender cuts often are substituted.
Get the recipe for Balsamic-Pepper Flank Steak »
by Alex Guarnaschelli in How-to, Shows, January 19th, 2012
Did you know that the fifth most-common finger cut can happen while you split a bagel? It’s got a name too: BRI, or bagel-related injury. Sometimes avoiding these kitchen problems is easier said than done, so here are a few tips to help you navigate your kitchen more safely.
1. Safely Split a Bagel
Lay it flat on a work surface while pressing down with one hand to keep it steady with your fingers splayed upward and out of harm’s reach. Hold a sharp serrated bread knife in your other hand and slice the bagel horizontally, keeping the knife parallel to the work surface.
2. Wipe Up Spills Immediately
Always keep dishrags handy while you’re cooking in the kitchen and toss one over a spill you might not have time for at the moment as a visual reminder — and clean it up as soon as you have time.
Stabilize your cutting board and more »
by J.M. Hirsch in How-to, Recipes, January 19th, 2012
Participating in The Big Waste on Food Network was as eye opening for me as it was to watch it. I consider myself fairly well-informed in matters of buying, selling or, most simply, eating what I buy for my restaurants and home. In short, I didn’t think there would be much to learn doing this show. Or at least that there wouldn’t be much I hadn’t already seen. I was wrong. There were small amounts of precious, expensive things wasted, like chocolate, espresso and prosciutto. There were the stunning amounts of vegetables like corn, in bulk quantity, that I was surprised to learn would never “make the cut” and have a chance to even be bought.
Here are a few things we can all think about when shopping and cooking that can help reduce the amount of food waste:
1. Don’t pick through an entire pile of tomatoes to find the biggest, most perfect one. Settle for a few of the nice, small ones on top. Moving the pile around and shifting the fruit can bruise them and increase the likelihood than people will leave those other bruised fruits behind. Same goes for peaches.
Five more tips to reduce the amount of food waste »
by Heather Ramsdell in Community, How-to, January 18th, 2012
Mmmm … Nothing says good eats like soy residue.
Except that in Chinese cooking, it really can. And you very likely have enjoyed that soy residue. Many times and in many ways.
We’re talking about hoisin sauce, a classic ingredient for sauces — both for dipping at the table and basting during cooking — in China.
Hoisin is a thick, dark red-to-brown sauce that blends sweet-spicy-savory flavors, a profile not all that different from ketchup. It is made from the leftover mash of fermented soy beans produced when making traditional soy sauces. That mash is combined with sugar, chiles, garlic, vinegar, salt, sometimes five-spice powder and either flour or cornstarch (to thicken).
Though hoisin is widely used on grilled meats (as a barbecue sauce) and in dipping sauces, it’s best known for a starring role in Peking duck and moo shu pork.
by Emily Silman in How-to, January 17th, 2012
Twice a month, we’re giving readers a chance to ask Food Network Kitchens’ advice about an issue they’re having with a dish. They can’t reformulate a recipe for you, but they’re happy to help improve it.
Question: “How do I get my pizza crust to have that slightly chewy texture and hollow bubbles to obtain that authentic pizzeria-style crust?” — Stephanie.
Find out the answer to Stephanie’s question »
by J.M. Hirsch in How-to, Recipes, January 12th, 2012
Many of you tuned in to Food Network’s special, The Big Waste, that aired last week, and we heard from lots of you about how eye-opening and shocking it is to see how much perfectly edible food ends up in the garbage. Even if you’re not tasked with cooking a meal for 100 people using wasted food like chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Anne Burrell, Bobby Flay and Michael Symon were, you can still learn how to get the most out of your groceries with the tips below.
1. Treat fresh herbs like flowers and give them a vase. Who doesn’t hate it when you need a tablespoon of fresh parsley for a recipe but you’re forced to buy a giant bunch? You can hang on to the extras for another use if you treat them well. Fill a glass halfway with water, remove any twist ties or rubber bands from the herbs, and then place them in the glass, stems down. Cover with a plastic bag (the produce bag you probably brought them home in is perfect), then secure the bag to the glass with a rubber band. This will keep them fresh and usable for much longer than if you’d just tossed them in the crisper drawer.
Keep brown sugar soft and moist »
by J.M. Hirsch in How-to, January 5th, 2012
Not sure what crème fraiche is or why you should care?
Consider it a relative of sour cream. Except that while both are white, thick and creamy, crème fraiche is the richer, sexier and more talented relative.
Here’s the deal. Like yogurt, sour cream and crème fraiche are dairy products produced thanks to the miracle of beneficial bacteria.
But while yogurt is made by adding those bacteria to milk, sour cream and crème fraiche are made from cream.
So what’s the difference? Sour cream is made from cream that is 20 percent fat; crème fraiche sports an even more succulent 30 percent. That may not sound like a big difference, but it matters in both taste and versatility. That extra fat turns crème fraiche into a kitchen workhorse.
But first, taste. While sour cream tastes, well, sour, crème fraiche is rich and tart. And as a byproduct of the bacteria added to produce it, crème fraiche tends to make other foods taste buttery. But unlike yogurt, crème fraiche isn’t particularly acidic (so it’s not great for marinades).
Get the recipe for Croque Monsieur »
by Emily Silman in How-to, January 4th, 2012
Most of us have plenty of ideas for using whole almonds. Eat them whole. Bake them into treats. Scatter them over salads or green beans.
But what about almond butter — toasted (and sometimes salted) almonds that have been ground to a peanut butter-like consistency?
After cranking out a few AB&J sandwiches, most people push the jar of almond butter to the back of the refrigerator. Time to pull it forward because almond butter is easy to use in all sorts of delicious ways in numerous cuisines.
Let’s start with the basics. Almond butter is what it sounds like: ground almonds, usually with a bit of oil and salt added for texture and taste.
It’s not the same as almond paste or marzipan, both of which are made from finely ground almonds (but with a fair amount of sugar added) and used in baking.
Get the recipe for Mole-Style Pulled Pork Buns »
by J.M. Hirsch in How-to, Recipes, December 29th, 2011
Last year The New York Times and other news outlets reported a scary statistic: Americans throw out approximately 40 percent of all the food we purchase. Let’s say you spend $100 a week on groceries — that’s like taking $40 and just tossing it in the trash. If you’re one of the many of us who are resolving to spend money more wisely in the new year, then taking a look at your grocery shopping and food storage habits and making some improvements will help stretch your food dollar even further. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing helpful tips to make the most of the food you buy and help you avoid having to throw anything away.
1. Don’t let oil or nuts go rancid. Whenever I cook in a friend’s home, rancid olive and vegetable oil is the number one food sin that I see committed. Many people don’t realize that oil goes bad, so it’s very important to keep it (especially pricey olive oil) in a cool, dark place. Take the sniff test to determine if yours has gone bad: if it smells musty and off, it’s time to say goodbye. (And here’s an important food disposal tip: if you must throw it away, don’t pour oil down the drain; it’s terrible for waste-water treatment plants.) If you don’t use a lot of oil, avoid buying giant bottles so it won’t go bad before you use it up.
The worst offense you could commit »
Several thousand years ago, people discovered that exposing fish to intense amounts of salt and smoke was a great of preserving the catch for later.
Today, our smoking techniques are considerably more refined, and we do it more for flavor than as a means of preservation.
Which makes it a shame that more people don’t think to reach for smoked fish as an effortless way to add gobs of flavor to the foods they love.
But first, a primer on smoked fish. There are two ways to smoke: cold and hot. Salmon, trout, haddock and mackerel are the most common choices.
In cold smoking, the fish are brined in a heavy salt solution, then exposed to cool smoke (85 degrees F max) for up to several days, then frozen to kill parasites.
Get the recipe for Smoked Trout Noodle Soup »