All Posts In How-to
With 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.
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.
Bacon 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.
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.
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.
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.
In case you’re hopping a plane to Sochi, Russia, right now or hoping to re-create Russia at home, here’s a quick primer on how to toast like the Russians do.
Obviously, vodka is a must. It should be served ice-cold, straight from the freezer (or the windowsill, if you’re in a particularly frigid region). Homemade infusions (lemon or horseradish work nicely) are fine, or just go with plain. Read more
She’s given fans 30-minute meals, killer sammies and, of course, “EVOO.” Now the queen of weeknight cooking is dishing up a few more kitchen essentials. Read on for her best shortcuts.
1. Adding fresh lemon juice to a recipe? Squeeze the lemon cut-side up so the seeds don’t fall into your food.
2. Measure spices into your hand, instead of over your mixing bowl or pan. That way, you’ll never have to fish anything out if you make a mistake.
3. After cooking fish, get that stinky smell out with a bit of booze: While the pan is still hot, douse it with a splash of dry vermouth and swirl it around. (Caution: It may flame.)
4. Cut down soaking time for dry beans by pouring boiling water over them first. Let stand for 1 hour, rinse, then proceed with your recipe.
Every cookware surface has its own set of rules to guarantee correctly cooking food and a long life on your shelf. Whether your cabinets are stocked with nonstick, cast iron or stainless steel (or you’re thinking about a set to invest in), these tips will keep your pots and pans properly cared for.
When cooking with nonstick pans use medium heat or lower. High heat on a coated pan will shorten its shelf life. Because temperatures can soar, don’t preheat an empty pan. Add food or even oil from the start. Keep in mind that foods prepared in a nonstick pan will not brown well, as high heat is necessary for a seared surface to develop. Foods won’t be able to adhere to the surface and form the browned bits that make up a golden crust.