All Posts In How-to

How to Make Butter — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in How-to, April 7th, 2014

How to Make ButterMy inspiration for cooking is spurred by many things, one of them being curiosity. That’s what led me to make my own butter almost five years ago. My intention was not to start whipping batches of homemade butter for cooking or baking; that would be a far too expensive endeavor. I simply wanted to know if it was as easy as it sounded, and how different it would taste compared with what I could easily buy at the supermarket.

Inevitably, making butter from scratch brings out the kid inside of us all too. Imagine pouring a container of heavy cream into a food processor and watching it magically transform from one ingredient into another. There’s no magic, of course; it’s all science, but that doesn’t take away from the wonder of it all.

What about the taste? I’ll never be able to 100 percent replicate the butter I gorge on in France, simply because the cream here in the U.S. is different in flavor. I can get pretty darn close, though. All I need are two key ingredients: good-quality heavy cream from a local farmers market and fleur de sel. The result is a rich, yellow-hued fresh butter, laced with crunchy bits of salt. It’s the perfect companion to a crusty baguette and it even elevates ordinary toasted white bread.

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5 Ways to Use Day-Old Bread

by in How-to, April 1st, 2014

5 Ways to Use Day-Old BreadWhen I was growing up, my mom always kept a stash of stale bread destined to become breadcrumbs. It’s a thrifty way to make use of leftovers, and also not waste any of your grocery budgets. I always mean to do this, but the truth is I get impatient. To make breadcrumbs, the bread must be rid of all moisture. Depending on the temperature in your house, this could take weeks of waiting. You could speed the process up by baking the bread at a low temperature, essentially dehydrating it. Once I get to the point of turning on the oven, though, I want a bigger payoff.

What starts as a journey for homemade breadcrumbs eventually turns into croutons or crisps, like the recipe for these savory, cracker-like ones below. They’re perfect for topping with some creamy ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey, and they also lend some oomph to a charcuterie platter. If I manage to have any left, I give them a whirl in the food processor for seasoned homemade breadcrumbs, which brings my cooking endeavor full circle.

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How to Make Banana Pudding Tiramisu

by in How-to, Recipes, March 25th, 2014

How to Make Banana Pudding TiramisuTraditional banana pudding and Italian tiramisu may hail from drastically different places — compare an Italian trattoria to the kitchen of your Southern grandmother — but, trust us, these two go together without a hitch. Maybe it’s the layering, maybe it’s that inspired combination of coffee, bananas and cream. All we know is that with a comforting dessert mash-up like Banana Pudding Tiramisu, there’s never been a more pressing reason to whip out those trifle dishes.

Check out a step-by-step how-to for this banana and espresso cream bliss. Assemble yours the night before for the best results.

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Organize Your Cabinets — Spring-Cleaning

by in How-to, March 20th, 2014

Organize Your CabinetsWith the new season just beginning it’s time to start thinking about spring-cleaning, your kitchen included. Getting organized means less time spent searching through your cabinets for key utensils or ingredients. That means less time in the kitchen overall when you need to get dinner on the table on a busy weeknight. From spices to baking tools, Vivian Jao put together her top tips for getting the most out of your space.

1. Your Pantry
Make meal planning easier with a well-organized pantry. Assign designated areas for different kinds of food, like baked goods, breakfast items, boxed goods and canned goods. Label these areas or shelves as a reminder for when you’re unpacking groceries. Designate a section for quick-cooking meals, like mac and cheese or canned soup, for when you just need to grab something in a pinch.

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How to Pair Pasta with Sauce

by in How-to, March 18th, 2014

Before you pick out a pasta for dinner tonight, think about what sauce you’re craving. Different pasta shapes lend themselves better to different pasta sauces, and these perfect pairings will ensure the perfect bite.

1. Flat Long Noodles
Think of fettuccine, linguine and tagliatelle as the flat, ribbon-like pastas that pair well with creamy sauces. The surface area of a flatter noodle means that it can stand up to a rich sauce. The wider the noodle, the heartier the sauce. A meaty Bolognese is best for wide pappardelle while an Alfredo pairs perfectly with fettuccine.

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Freeze Some Bacon

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, February 27th, 2014

Freeze Some BaconBacon is much easier to chop when it’s cold. Keep a stash in the freezer for weeknight meals — separate from the strips you use for breakfast — then just slice and dice straight from the freezer. If you need to separate the strips, microwave on defrost just until you can pull them apart.

All-Star Comfort Food Ingredients

by in How-to, February 26th, 2014

Comfort food can be a personal thing. My ultimate comfort dish is my grandmother’s famous baked spaghetti, served up with a heaping helping of nostalgia. Her recipe (and similar ones like this from Food Network Kitchen) is made up of ingredients that are universally comforting: pasta, rich red sauce and plenty of cheese. When my sweet tooth beckons, though, it’s all about the chocolate. Ina’s Brownie Pudding, made with “good” cocoa and real vanilla bean, is my go-to.

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How to Store Your Kitchen and Pantry Staples

by in How-to, February 25th, 2014

Storing these kitchen and pantry staple ingredients should be easy but there are a few tricks to remember to keep them tasting their best.

1. Nuts
Nuts should be stored in the freezer. Their high levels of natural oils can turn rancid but cold temperatures will help to slow down the process. The darkness of the freezer will also protect the nuts from being exposed to light, which can cause them to go stale.

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Which Cooking Oil Is Right for You?

by in How-to, February 18th, 2014

It’s no longer just a choice between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. We’ve broken down common cooking oils (plus a few new comers) so you can pick the right one for dinner tonight.

1. Canola Oil
The high smoking point of this neutral-tasting oil makes it your best bet for dishes like fried chicken or french fries. It’s also handy when making homemade mayonnaise.

2. Coconut Oil (Unrefined)
This trendy oil is praised as an all-natural vegan butter substitute. Use it for baking or quick sauteing, because of its low smoking point; use it as a spread for a hint of coconut flavor.

3. Corn Oil
This mild-flavored oil is inexpensive to produce and has a high smoking point for deep-frying but it’s refined, which means it is stripped of most nutrients.

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