If you’re making a sauce, soup or stew with meat, a layer of fat will probably appear on the surface. To remove it, position your pot halfway off the burner: The fat will migrate to the cooler side. Then gently lower a ladle onto the surface of the fat (try not to disturb the surface too much or you’ll stir the fat back in). Better yet, if you have time, chill the dish: The fat will congeal and you can scoop it off.
Removing the stems from leafy greens like kale and chard is an oddly satisfying task. Here are two methods:
1. Hold the end of the stem in one hand (left image) and run your knife down both sides of the stem (away from you) to shave off the leaves.
2. Pull the leaves together (right image) and grab them with one hand. Then rip out the stem with the other hand.
(Photographs by Melissa Punch/Studio D.)
Try a new take on sangria this summer: sparkling red wine poured over fruit sorbet. You can prepare it in about 30 seconds — no fruit chopping required. For these, we paired lambrusco (sparkling Italian red wine) with scoops of lemon, peach and orange sorbets. Try your own flavor combo or just drink the lambrusco by itself: It’s the perfect wine for a cookout.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
In Food Network Magazine, we occasionally make Southeast Asian-inspired recipes that call for fish sauce, like the Rice Noodle-Shrimp Salad (pictured above) in our June issue. This sauce is a staple of Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and really the entire region, and is usually made from fermented anchovies. Sounds scary, we know, and it can smell scary, too — very pungent. But it can be surprisingly subtle and can add an astounding depth of flavor as well as authenticity to a dish. We’re lucky that we can now find fish sauce in the Asian section of most big grocery stores. But if you are lucky enough to live near an Asian market, you will likely see several different brands on the shelf, each of different origins and with its own subtly unique flavor.
In November of last year, right before we started developing our recipes for June, I had the good fortune of visiting Vietnam. The food, of course, was amazing. And while there, I was surprised to learn about the variety of fish sauces and fish sauce blends they used. The most common variety by far is nuoc cham: fish sauce diluted with water, sugar and lime juice, usually seasoned with garlic and fresh chilies. Not only is it delicious, but because its flavor is slightly more subdued, it is the perfect starting point for fish sauce novices. In the Rice Noodle-Shrimp Salad, I created my own version of nuoc cham as the salad dressing. It imparts tons of flavor to the rice noodles, but it’s also extremely versatile: It’s great as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken, for instance.
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Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:
Don’t let extra burger buns go to waste: Use them as a binder for chicken or veggie burgers, meatloaf or meatballs. For Food Network Magazine‘s Pesto Chicken Burgers (pictured above), we tore up a bun and mixed it with water to make a panade, a mixture of liquid and starch that holds ingredients together. Use this trick for any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs as a binder.
Meatballs are like burgers: The more you mess with the meat, the tougher they’ll be. Mix the ingredients with your hands until just combined — don’t overwork. And skip the browning; try poaching the meatballs in a broth or sauce, like we did in Food Network Magazine‘s Greek Meatball Stew. They’ll absorb the liquid and turn out extra tender.
If you forgot the card this Mother’s Day, you can bake your message into a muffin instead: Cut a thin strip of parchment paper, write a note with a nontoxic marker, then fold the note in half lengthwise (so the ink faces the inside). Fold it one more time and push it into the muffin batter, leaving the ends poking out; bake as usual.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Bread pudding and French toast are like first cousins. Traditionally one is dessert and one is breakfast, but they really are more alike than they are different: Both are made by soaking (preferably stale) bread in a milk and egg mixture and cooking it until slightly crisp on the outside and lusciously custardy on the inside.
In the April issue of Food Network Magazine, you’ll find five delicious French toast recipes, each made with a different type of bread and a different flavor profile. Some of them, like the Rum French Toast a la Mode (pictured above), can easily double as dessert without a change. My personal favorite, the Baked Croissant French Toast, can be tweaked just a bit to skew it further toward the dessert realm (although it’s pretty decadent as it is!). Simply swap out the plain croissants for chocolate croissants and double the sugar in the custard. You’ll have an over-the-top dessert bread pudding. I like to top it with a little sweetened whipped cream, the marmalade sauce from the recipe and a little extra chocolate sauce for good measure.
Next time you make burritos, try these construction tips.
1. Layer the fillings horizontally across the lower half of your tortilla (not the middle), starting with absorbent ingredients like rice. Put the cheese against something hot like meat or beans so it will melt.
2. Fold up the bottom of the tortilla and tuck it under the filling.
3. Fold in the two sides.
4. Tightly roll up the burrito.
(Photographs by Christopher Testani)
Give your breadsticks a fresh look for spring. Arrange refrigerated breadstick dough on a baking sheet and brush with a beaten egg. Place small, delicate herb leaves like dill, chervil, oregano or parsley on top, then brush with more of the egg and bake as directed.
(Photograph by Sam Kaplan)