Deglazing: you’ve surely heard the term mentioned by your favorite Food Network chefs and stars, but do you know what it means and how to do it? Chef Bobby Flay introduced the idea of deglazing to his team of recruits on last Sunday’s premiere of Worst Cooks in America as he taught them how to make a mushroom-wine sauce for steaks, but for some contestants, the lesson could have used a second explanation. If you’re in need of a refresher course as well, look no further, because we have the how-tos for tackling this can-do cooking technique, plus easy recipes to help you master the process.
To deglaze a pan is to use liquid — be it stock, wine or water — to unstick any bits of food leftover on the bottom of the pan after searing or sauteing. In the case of Chef Bobby’s recipe, he used bold red wine to deglaze the pan in which he cooked his beef tenderloin. Thanks to a quick sear, the meat had taken on a golden-brown crust full of flavor, and after flipping it, remnants of that flavor remained on the pan. With just a splash of wine and a bit of stirring, however, those crispy pieces added a new depth of taste to the sauce without much effort.
Practice deglazing at home
Homemade pasta is great and everyone loves it, but most people don’t own a pasta machine because it’s a pricey piece of kitchen equipment.
Problem solved. Our resident kitchen-gadget hacker, Cliff, has come up with a brilliant solution. Click the play button above to watch Cliff demonstrate how to make a pasta machine out of a paper shredder. Fresh, homemade pasta has never been easier.
Lobster is one of the most romantic meals to eat on Valentine’s Day — whether out at a restaurant or in the confines of your own home. While it’s certainly a special treat, it can also be terrifying, especially for new couples just starting to date (it can get quite messy). How do you eat a lobster? Where do you crack it? Can you only eat the tail?
No worries. Valentine’s Day dinner is only a few short hours away, but there’s still plenty of time to learn how to eat a lobster before then. Click the play button after the jump to watch Food Network Kitchens break down a lobster and you’ll soon be a pro (and your significant other will be very impressed).
WATCH the video now
Cast-iron skillets can be used everywhere, from the stovetop (to make the best pancakes you’ve ever had) to the oven (for my family’s favorite Chicken With Caramelized Lemons Olives and Tomatoes) to the grill (for those warm summer nights when nothing sounds better than grilled corn on the cob, burgers and sweet baked beans).
When a cast-iron skillet is seasoned well, it can develop an almost non-stick surface perfect for cooking omelets and other foods using less oil for cooking. An added benefit is cast iron’s ability to leach small amounts of iron into food.
A cast-iron skillet is one of the least expensive kitchen tools you’ll ever purchase and it’s the type of kitchenware that tends to get passed down through the generations. So if you didn’t inherit granny’s cast-iron skillet that always made her famous cornbread, then get one for yourself and start the tradition in your family.
Home bakers often ask, “Why can’t I use salted butter in a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, especially when salt is listed as a separate ingredient?” Right? I totally get the question. Why wouldn’t you just use salted butter and call it a day?
First, let me say that I never use salted butter. Not to bake with, on my toast in the morning or for any recipe that calls for butter.
Call me a control freak; however, the reason is that the salt added to salted butter varies depending on the brand you buy. All salted butters are not created equal. So why take your chances when baking? Just buy unsalted butter and start with a clean slate.
This leads me to the next most-asked question:
“Why can’t I use self-rising flour for all baking?” I totally comprehend this question too. It sure would eliminate buying a variety of flours, right?
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If you’re wondering why your chili doesn’t taste as good as you remember, it might be the chili powder that’s off. You might not have realized it, but spices can actually lose their freshness and flavor over time. That’s why it’s a good idea to check them periodically to see if they’re still any good. What better time to do so than New Year’s? You might as well check it off your to-do list right after you change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
Spices are some of the most important ingredients when it comes to flavoring food. Just imagine an apple pie without cinnamon or an Indian curry without curry powder. Those recipes wouldn’t be the same without those spices. It’s easy to take spices for granted when you use them so often, but they need some attention, especially when it comes to storing them.
Ground vs. whole spices
When it comes to New Year’s, most people will be making resolutions, whether it’s giving up a bad habit, eating healthier, losing weight or simply making a vow to get to the gym more often. But when it comes to resolutions, the hardest part is starting them. So before you set your goals, survey your surroundings. The way to succeed at any resolution is by first making positive changes at home — it starts in the kitchen.
There’s no reason to wait until spring to clean your pantry or your cupboards. Take the time now when it means the most for your well-being. Getting your kitchen in shape before you begin your new diet or health regimen is the first step in getting your resolutions off the ground. FN Dish has five important tips to help get you started.
Get the Kitchen Resolution tips
This has been a magical year for me. I wrote my first cookbook, Baking Out Loud, received a James Beard award nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef, created seasonal recipes for the Cooking Channel, was featured on Season 3 of Unique Sweets, appeared on the TODAY show and most importantly, experienced having the love and support of so many people I’ve met along the way.
Some of my favorite FN Dish blog posts of 2012 included Baking in Jars and Food Tastes Better on a Stick. Both of these articles were inspired by my real-life job as Executive Pastry Chef for Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami. The restaurant is always busy, so necessity has been the mother of invention; and putting pies in jars allowed me to be creative and eliminate storage issues, while dessert on sticks helps keep people on the go.
With all of that said, here are some things I’m most excited about for 2013:
• Baking with olive oil
• Pickling fruits
• Smoking honeys, nuts and flours
• Continuing to develop portable baked goods
Learn how to make a cake-in-a-box
By Ron Ben-Israel
I once made a few cakes for dessert — some coffee cakes. The recipe that I tried was not accurate; it said butter the pan, but should have said butter then flour the pan. Half the cake came out and half of it didn’t, and it had a big crack on the side.
So if a cake flops, what can you do to save it? If the cake is supposed to be frosted, then don’t worry about it. Just cover it with frosting. It will still be delicious. If it’s like a coffee cake, which doesn’t get frosted, preslice and serve it plated with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream and berries.
Always remember this rule of thumb
Thanksgiving is over, but the football games are just starting. If you’re tired of eating Thanksgiving leftovers (impossible, we know), dive into a pile of chicken wings. But before you start eating them, ask yourself this question: Am I eating this chicken wing the right way? Yes, there’s actually a right way to eat a chicken wing, and I promise it will make your entire perspective on eating wings a whole lot different.
So sit back, relax and watch. Once you’re done, find your favorite wing recipes to make so you can try it out yourself.
Every month I’ll be showing you the proper and easy way to eat something, so what would you like to see next? Tell me in the comments below.