All Posts In How-to

Baking in the Clouds

by in How-to, September 1st, 2012

high altitude baking
Living at sea level, I’ve never given much thought to recipe adjustments needed when baking at higher elevations. A dear friend of mine (a seasoned pastry chef), Tweeted that she was nervous about baking in the clouds — it was a cry for help. I was happy to chime in and give her thin-air solutions.

First things first: Boiling water temperature is not universal. At sea level, water boils at 212 degrees F. At 10,000 feet above sea level, it drops to 195 degrees F. Go figure.

If we understand why cakes fall during cooling, fixing the problem becomes easy.

Follow me: the higher up you go, air pressure decreases, which causes leavening agents in baked goods to react too quickly. Liquids also tend to evaporate at a quicker rate. This causes cakes to fall and be dry.

Find out how to make the perfect high-altitude cake

Seed Your Tomatoes

by in Food Network Magazine, How-to, August 28th, 2012

Seeded Tomato

Hot tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:

Taste your tomato seeds before using them in a dish: Sometimes the seeds are bitter and can overpower subtle flavors, like the summer squash and wax beans in Food Network Magazine‘s Fettuccine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese. If your tomato has bitter seeds, place them in a strainer along with the pulp, then press out and use the juice only; discard the seeds.

(Photograph by George Doyle/Getty Images)

What Can I Do With Unripened Fruit? — Fix My Dish

by in How-to, August 24th, 2012

unripened bananas
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: “Is there a way I can use fruit that is not quite ripe yet?” — Kathleen Sefchick Dixon from Facebook

Answer: If you can wait a day or two, many fruits (such as bananas, pears, peaches, kiwis, tomatoes and avocados) will ripen quickly when stored in a brown paper bag, and even faster if you add a ripe apple or banana to the bag.

More From Fix My Dish

What’s the Difference: Crostini vs. Bruschetta

by in How-to, August 22nd, 2012

crostini vs bruschettaCrostini: Meaning “little toasts” in Italian, crostini are small, thin slices of toasted bread, which are usually brushed with olive oil. The word also describes canapés consisting of small slices of toast with a savory topping such as cheese, shrimp, pâté or anchovies. Sometimes crostini refers to the equivalent of a crouton used for soups or salads.

 

Bruschetta: From the Italian bruscare meaning “to roast over coals,” this traditional garlic bread is made by rubbing slices of toasted bread with garlic cloves, then drizzling the bread with extra-virgin olive oil. The bread is salted and peppered, then heated and served warm.

Get popular crostini and bruschetta recipes

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.