All Posts In How-to

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Beyond the Bag: New Ways to Eat Your Baby Carrots

by in Family, How-to, January 27th, 2015

It’s a common predicament: You buy a bag of baby carrots, eat a few, and then let the rest of them sit at the bottom of the vegetable bin until they become either a slimy mess or dried-out little nubs. Here are easy ways to use up the rest of that bag, get more veggies in your family’s diet and feel good about yourself! Check out the full gallery for all 14 delicious ideas.

Read more

5 Reasons to Get Braising Now

by in How-to, In Season, January 4th, 2015

By Patricia Reilly

In the chilly season, simmering your supper using the easy and age-old technique of braising will bring warmth, coziness and fragrance to your kitchen. This simple, satisfying mode of cooking is perfect for the holidays and winter months, when hibernating at home allows time for a leisurely back-burner braise, building layers of flavor into fork-tender foods.

1. If you love comfort food, you’ll love braising. Think melt-in-your-mouth short ribs (pictured above), osso buco (much simpler than it sounds) and braised pork tacos. This is food that warms the soul while at the same time offering the terrific texture and flavor complexity you might associate with chef-y fare. Bottom line: Make enough for seconds and superior leftovers.

Read more

5 Edible Holiday Centerpiece Ideas That Will Wow Your Guests

by in Holidays, How-to, December 20th, 2014

Start the music! Light the lights! Get the party going with an edible centerpiece tonight! These fun, creative projects are sure to be the star of any holiday party, and they’re easy enough for kids to help with. Use them as a single element, or in a group on a buffet or dinner table. Check out the full gallery for step-by-step instructions for each centerpiece idea.

Read more

How to Make Homemade Food Coloring

by in How-to, December 17th, 2014

How to Make Homemade Food ColoringIf you’re steering clear of store-bought food colorings but want to make colorful cookies or holiday gifts, I’m with you. As a mom of four small kids, I’ve been looking high and low for recipes that produce vibrant colors without chemicals, and these are the best I’ve found. Below are techniques for making three primary colors that you can use as is or mix to create orange, purple or green.

The Colors:
To make red, use raspberries, pure pomegranate juice or roasted beets.

To make yellow, use raw carrots or mangoes.

To make blue, use radicchio or red cabbage.

Read more