All Posts In How-to

How to Make Basil Salt

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, August 15th, 2012

Basil Salt

If you need to use up all of that basil from the garden, make basil-flavored salt: Pulse ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup packed basil leaves in a food processor, then spread on a baking sheet and bake at 225 degrees F until dry, 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway through. Let cool and pulse again to make a fine powder. Serve it with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella at a cookout, or package it to give to the neighbors.

(Photograph by Sam Kaplan)

Give Rice a Rest

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, August 14th, 2012

Bacon and Broccoli Rice Bowl
Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:

To get fluffy, evenly cooked rice, ignore it for 5 to 10 minutes after it’s done cooking and keep the lid on while it sits. (Do not stir.) The rice will continue absorbing moisture from the steam in the pot even after all of the water is gone. If the rice is still a tad undercooked after resting, sprinkle it with hot tap water, cover and set aside until the water is absorbed.

Keeping Blueberries From Sinking in Batter — Fix My Dish

by in How-to, August 10th, 2012

blueberry buckle
Twice a month, we’re giving readers a chance to ask Food Network Kitchens’ advice about an issue they’re having with a dish. They can’t reformulate a recipe for you, but they’re happy to help improve it.

Question: “How can I get my fresh blueberries to distribute evenly in my cake better so when they bake, they all don’t sink or rise, leaving nothing in the middle?” — Suzanne Sinatra Perucci via Facebook

Answer: Try tossing your berries with a tablespoon or two of flour before adding them to the batter. Just remember to account for that when you mix up your dry ingredients, subtracting that same tablespoon or two from the amount called for in the recipe. The light coating of flour around the berries will absorb some of the fruit’s liquid, making them less likely to sink. This is especially helpful when the batter is thin; thicker batters are a little better at cradling the fruit and keeping it suspended. You can try this with any of your add-ins — peach chunks, strawberries, chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts — when the batter is thin. Even if it ends up not being necessary, it certainly won’t hurt the recipe.

More From Fix My Dish

Fighting Summer Stains: Condiments

by in How-to, August 8th, 2012

ketchup splatter
Winter is the season for one-pot meals and slow, simmered sauces. Summer’s the time for quick, high-heat grilling and flavor-packed condiments. From cookout fixings like ketchup and mustard to the mayonnaise that dresses lobster rolls, these tasty topping are stains waiting to happen. If you find yourself with condiments on your clothing, follow these simple steps to remove the offending marks:

Ketchup
Ketchup and other tomato-based sauces like barbecue sauce and salsa should first be scraped off of the cloth, to remove as much of the sauce as possible (a dull knife is a good scraping tool). Then spray the stain with a laundry pretreater, rub it into the stain and let the product work for at least 10 minutes before laundering. Opt for the warmest water the garment can take according to the care label and feel free to add color-safe bleach to the load.

Mustard
Tre Mitchell Wright, fabric care expert at Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, recommends removing as much of the mustard as possible and then pretreating the spot with white vinegar. Launder according to the care label with detergent and a little color-safe bleach to finish the job.

Mayonnaise, melted butter and more

Go Shopping at Your Local Hardware Store for Baking Tools

by in How-to, August 1st, 2012

hardware store tools
Sometimes inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places, like the neighborhood hardware store. I like to shop for kitchen “tools” like a DIYer hungry to tackle their project of the month. Strolling the aisles, I’m like a kid in a candy store with ideas for repurposing the contents of a handyman’s tool chest. Here are some tools that can pull double duty in the kitchen.

Blow-torch: This impressive-looking tool can be used for much more than soldering metal. It’s super-cool to use to toast meringue and usually cheaper than torches sold at expensive kitchenware stores. Think of me the next time you whip up a baked Alaska — it will be stunning.

PVC pipe: Just ask your friendly (and hopefully cute) hardware specialist to trim down one of those 700-foot white tubes you see lining the aisle. Let’s say you want to form individual ice cream cakes that are 3 ½ inches wide by 2 ½ inches tall. Go for it. Once you decide the size of the dessert you want to make, it’s easy to select the right pipe for the job. Ask your buddy to trim some into the exact number of servings you’re planning.

Get more double-duty tool tips

Give Pasta a Whirl

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, August 1st, 2012

Broken Lasagna Tomato and Zucchini Pasta

Hot tips from Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:

As soon as you add pasta to boiling water, stir it vigorously for about 5 seconds to keep it from sticking, like Food Network Magazine did with the Broken Lasagna With Zucchini-Tomato Sauce. Each piece should be able to tumble freely in the pot. Don’t add oil to the water as is often suggested: It can prevent sauce from clinging to cooked pasta.

Fighting Summer Stains: Beverages

by in Drinks, How-to, July 24th, 2012

iced coffee stains
With summer’s heat, we drink more to keep cool and stay hydrated. From a freshly brewed batch of sun tea to a fruit-infused pitcher of sangria, summer is the season to celebrate all the varied ways to drink up flavor. However, all those yummy drinks can sometimes spill on clothing and table linens, leaving sticky stains. No matter what you spill, we’ve got you covered with advice for how to tackle many common summer beverage stains.

In her book Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House, Cheryl Mendelson offers the following advice for most beverage stains: Soak the stain in cool water, then treat it with a prewash stain treatment product. Follow by laundering with a bleach safe for the fabric. For specific advice for particular spills, read on:

Iced Tea or Coffee (without milk)

Since these beverages are acidic, you’ll want to pretreat them with an acidic remedy, like lemon juice or white vinegar. Next, follow Cheryl’s advice for treating beverage stains (above).

Stain solutions for soft-drinks, sangria and more

Size Matters — Baking Pan Sizes

by in How-to, July 18th, 2012

baking pan
Yes, pan size matters when it comes to baking times and temperatures.

Have you ever had cake batter ready to go into the oven and realized you have the wrong size cake pan? Panic sets in. What do you do? There’s always a pan you can sub out for another size. It’s not the end of the world, trust me. I have a few tips I keep up my sleeve.

If, for example, your recipe calls for an 8-inch cake pan and you only have a 9-inch, relax, no problem. Just increase the oven temp by 25 degrees F and decrease the bake time by a quarter.

In this particular example, since your pan is 1 inch larger, more surface area will be exposed. The liquid in the cake batter will evaporate quicker, which means it will bake faster. To compensate, just increase the temp and decrease the baking time. Are you a little calmer now?

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Fighting Summer Stains: Barbecue

by in How-to, July 10th, 2012

charcoal for barbecue
Quick: Name the messiest summer foods you can imagine. Did barbecue come to mind? Between their savory sauces and their often hand-held nature (drumsticks, ribs), grilled goodies can really do a number of your clothing. When it comes to barbecue stains, “Prevention is half the battle,” says Tre Mitchell Wright, expert at Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, who reminds us that even if you’re at a backyard barbecue, your pants are not a napkin. If you do end up with residual marks from either cooking or consuming barbecue, we’ve got you covered:

Charcoal
If you get charcoal dust on your clothing, always get rid of the charcoal residue while the stain is still dry. Do this by brushing it off or, in a situation where a whole bag of charcoal has exploded on you, you might even try using a vacuum. Tre says the next line of defense is to make a paste with a powder detergent and a little bit of water and apply it to the stain (a powder detergent is always a better bet for a particulate stain, which is a stain made up of tiny particles like charcoal). Work the paste into the stain and then launder the garment using the warmest water the garment can handle according to the care label. Check to make sure the stain has disappeared before drying.

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Squeezed in the Middle

by in Entertaining, How-to, July 5th, 2012

key lime ice cream sandwiches
Growing up as I did in a house filled with junk food, I had many options. Cookies lined the shelves, each vying for my attention, screaming “Pick me!”

Passing over crunchy chocolate chip, I would quickly made my way to the sandwich cookies. Nutter Butters were my all-time favorites. So much so that my homemade variety appears on the cover of my upcoming cookbook.

I waited all year for Girl Scout cookie season, particularly for the Do-Si-Dos. I’m not sure if it’s the cookies or the filling that I love more. If I had to choose, I would say it’s those soft, peanut-buttery middles.

Baking cookies from scratch allows you to think outside the cookie box for filling ideas. Of course, there is the classic cream filling (think the “stuff” of Oreos), which you can make at home by creaming three simple ingredients: butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. I love adding citrus zest, espresso powder, cocoa nibs or even peanut butter for a twist. Heck, you can even fold in Cap’n Crunch cereal. The beauty of a filled cookie is there are endless possibilities.

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