All Posts In How-to

Here’s How to Up Your Dip Game

by in How-to, July 1st, 2014

Dip How-TosThe right dip recipe can get you through anything. The kids surprised you with a houseful of small-but-hungry friends? Bring out the chips and dip — vats of the stuff. A friend’s going through a breakup? There’s no better method for sopping up their tears than doing so over a bowl of guacamole. Perhaps most importantly, however, a solid dip recipe can help hit your cookout or picnic out of the park, especially this time of year. Before you peel open a tub of sorry store-bought dip, witness how these dip giants can come together in a flash, especially with a little how-to help.

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Throw a New England-Style Clambake

by in How-to, June 28th, 2014

Throw a New England-Style ClambakeWhether you’re vacationing in New England or elsewhere, summer is the time for an authentic, sea-soaked clambake on the beach. With the right grill setup and loads of salty seaweed, this seaside feast can be reproduced on just about any sandy shore — barbecue laws permitting, of course. Head down to the water’s edge to collect the seaweed the old-fashioned way, or get it from your local fishmonger. From there, it’s all about assembly. Here’s how to build the quintessential clambake, layer by layer.

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How to Win Summer — All-New Videos

by in How-to, In Season, June 27th, 2014

Cold beers are great and all, but you’ll really raise your summer party game this weekend with these boozy ideas. Take the watermelon keg to the next level by turning it into tequila shot skewers, make summery sangria right in your cooler, and stock the ultimate DIY margarita bar with an array of citrus juices and mango puree. See how it’s done below, and check out more cool ways to win summer. Read more

Warm Weather Trick: How to Keep Fruit Down in Sangria (VIDEO)

by in Drinks, How-to, May 21st, 2014

Let’s face it: The best part of sangria is the fruit soaked in whatever concoction you’ve mixed together. And the longer the fruit stays in the liquid, the better it gets. So take a tip from one of the original kitchen hackers himself, Alton Brown. Click play on the video above to find out how he keeps that fruit soaking to its fullest extent.

How to Decorate Cookies for Spring

by in How-to, May 20th, 2014

If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?

Yes, Mayflowers do bring pilgrims, as this grade school riddle so memorably illustrates, but May flowers bring joy — the kind of joy that inspired me to break out my brushes so that I could paint and capture what I saw on … cookies!

Not only is it easy and fun to celebrate spring with these hand-painted watercolor flower cookies, but you can do your pretty decorating without the use of artificial dyes and additives. Herbs, fruit juice and plant dyes all can be used as food coloring, and companies like India Tree even make premade versions available for purchase. What other natural food colorings can you come up with?

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The Secret to Grilling the Perfect Steak (Indoors and Out)

by in How-to, News, May 14th, 2014

The Secret to Grilling the Perfect SteakLet’s talk steak. Just the thought of a thick, juicy slab of perfectly cooked beef will make the mouths of enthusiastic carnivores water. (Those who don’t eat meat may want to just move along to the next post.)

New York Times dining reporter Julia Moskin fills in her readers on her tried-and-true method for cooking steak on the stovetop: Forget the talk about dry rubs and marinating, she advises. Buy your meat from a butcher. Choose thinner, boneless cuts — marbled, about 1 inch thick. Keep the meat refrigerated until about a half-hour before you’re ready to cook, then pat it dry with paper towels. Use a cast-iron skillet (unoiled) and turn the heat up “insanely” high. Salt the pan (not the steak) and heat it some more. Lay down your meat, wait about a minute, then flip it every 30 seconds until – 4 or 5 minutes later – you have a perfectly cooked steak. It’ll be crusty on the outside, pink on the inside.

“If it’s good quality steak and you don’t cook it for more than five minutes per inch, you really can’t mess it up,” Richard Schatz of New York City’s Schatzie the Butcher reassures Julia’s readers. “Steak is nothing to be scared of.”

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How to Make Restaurant-Style Fajitas

by in Holidays, How-to, April 29th, 2014

Chicken and Beef FajitasIt’s one of the few meals out there associated with a sound. The gratifying sizzzzle of a piping-hot skillet loaded with tortilla-ready add-ins signifies the arrival of one of our favorite hands-on dishes: fajitas. Lay out grilled veggies, cheese, pico de gallo and more on the table, and let your guests assemble the taco of their dreams. Along with salt-rimmed margaritas, bowls of guac and more, there is no better headliner for your Cinco de Mayo menu.

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DIY Cleaning Products for Earth Day

by in How-to, April 22nd, 2014

Homemade Natural Cleaning ProductsWhen Earth Day falls smack-dab in the middle of your spring-cleaning efforts, don’t think of it as a mere coincidence. Believe it or not, the key to a cleaner, happier home can’t be found in a name-brand aerosol spray from the store. Instead, take on a little do-it-yourself project and make nontoxic household cleaning supplies with items probably already in your home.

Having an all-purpose cleaning spray on deck is probably the most-basic way to keep your home fresh and clean. Before you grab something store-bought, try this: Stir 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda into 1/2 gallon water and transfer to a spray bottle. You can use this stuff almost anywhere except marble or granite.

For more ways to keep your house spick-and-span, be sure to refer to our list of home cleaning supplies. Using natural ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and more to clean will make your household — and environment — a whole lot happier.

Heading to the supermarket? With these 6 tips from the top eco-experts, it’s easy to go green and eat healthy.

How to Decorate Easter Eggs with Sprinkles

by in Holidays, How-to, April 17th, 2014

Sprinkles turn regular old eggs into amazing, dye-free, edible works of art, with minimal effort and maximum fun. These hard-boiled eggs bejeweled with pastel-colored nonpareils make an extra-special addition to any Easter egg hunt or Easter basket. Here’s how to make them. Read more

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

by in Holidays, How-to, April 14th, 2014

Perfect Hard Boiled EggsDissolving little tablets of dye into vinegar-spiked water and dipping hard-boiled eggs into the bowls was a rite of passage growing up. For my own children, though, it’s a foreign experience. It’s a myth you might say, like the Easter Bunny himself. We actually ate the cooked eggs growing up, and while egg salad was never my thing, I did love eating the freshly peeled eggs with a sprinkling of salt. It’s still my favorite way to enjoy them, with my Mediterranean Tuna Salad coming in as a close second.

My girls aren’t fans of eating hard-boiled eggs, though, regardless of how they’re prepared. Because one woman can eat only so many hard-boiled eggs, we usually skip the whole ritual. This year we’re mixing things up for the Easter holiday and driving to Toronto to celebrate with friends. Egg coloring will be in full swing. The girls will get to dip, tie-dye and color away, and I’ll be ready with some of my favorite recipes to put all those leftover Easter treasures to delicious use.

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