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7 steps to prep your grill for grilling season

You might have already packed away your sweaters and scarves, but before this summer can really heat up, you need to give your grill its annual checkup. It might not be the most exciting item on your upcoming schedule, but nothing can kill an outdoor dinner party faster than a broken grill. So for the sake of future fun, follow this advice to make sure your grill is ready for its Memorial Day debut and beyond. Also read, How to kick off grilling season with proper food safety. 1. Deep clean the grates. Little charred bits don’t add flavor — by now, it’s just dirt that can make you sick. Cleaning your grates regularly will prevent dangerous bacteria buildup, improve the taste of your food, and also reduce the risk of fire. Grill grates can be cleaned a variety of different ways, but to really start the season off right, consider…

10 bad kitchen habits you need to break now

We all make mistakes in the kitchen — especially when we’re just starting out. But great cooks learn to be great by learning from their mistakes. Whether you’re a seasoned professional chef or a 20-something try-hard, if you’ve picked up any of these bad habits in the kitchen ditch them right now! Your cooking is suffering and you might not even know it. 1. Your knives are always dull When you’re using a dull knife, you actually increase your risk of getting injured. A sharp knife easily slices through anything, but a dull blade needs some force. This means it’s more likely to slip out of your hand and cut you — possibly seriously. If you don’t know how to properly sharpen a knife, no worries. You can get it done by a professional relatively cheaply. Once sharp, remember to store them with their blades protected in knife guards. Never…

5 Types of foods to avoid cooking in your cast iron skillet

When you get your first cast iron skillet, you’re eager to see how much it can master. Sizzling grilled cheese? Check! Fajitas? Check! You’ll start to eat skillet dishes six nights a week just because you love the flavor and the simplicity. But even Superman has his kryptonite. Here are 5 types of food you should steer clear of in your cast iron skillet. 1. Acidic Foods Cast iron can’t handle large quantities of acidic foods very well. Acidic foods allow the metal to leach into your foods, but they can also breakdown your seasoning.  This means like foods with tomato sauce, vinegar or lemon-based sauces will pick up a metallic taste from the pan. This can happen in as little as a half hour, so if it’s a white wine chicken dish you’re going for, make the marriage of the two quick, or better yet, do it outside the…

Freezing herbs and other methods to make them last all winter

The cool, fall weather has been here long enough that most gardens are finally on their last leg. For many, the biggest draw of a home garden is the easy access to fresh herbs. But soon it will be too cold, and there won’t be any herbs left to pick straight from the garden. So what can you do to prolong access to your herb garden? Each herb favors different types of treatments, so Doug Oster, garden editor for the Tribune-Review and Everybodygardens.com gave us the dirt on how to best save each of the common herbs in the coming winter months. Move herbs Indoors If you grew herbs in containers this summer, some of them may continue to thrive if you bring them indoors. “There are certain herbs that will happily keep going on the window sill,” said Oster. “Rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, lemon balm. Those will be happy to limp along near a window indoors. They’re not going to look…

What side of aluminum foil should you cook on?

You’ve probably notice by now that foil has two distinct sides: one that’s shiny and one that’s dull. You may even have a preference for which side you cook on. But what’s the truth behind this two-faced tin foil conundrum? It would be natural to think that the shiny side would reflect more heat and maybe create a more effective surface for cooking. So if you use the shiny side, you’re right. But if you use the dull side, you’re also right — you’re both right! According to Reynold’s Kitchen, the different textures on the two sides have nothing to do with cooking efficiencies, but rather, the manufacturing process. Reynold’s explains in the FAQS on the company website: The foil is ‘milled’ in layers during production. Milling is a process whereby heat and tension is applied to stretch the foil to the desired thickness. We mill two layers in contact with each…

“How to Taste” handbook is a game changer for home cooks

Perhaps the best handbooks are the ones we didn’t know we needed. If you’ve ever wondered why your dinner turned into a disaster, or you think salt is the savior of all your culinary problems, Here to Taste ($17.99, 240 pages) is here to help. Everyday, home cooks fiddle in the kitchen without really understanding why we do the things we do — some spices here, hotter temperatures there. But are these decisions really making our food the best it can be? There’s a lot that goes into the underlying principles of flavorful food, and certainly most of us wouldn’t have time to research it all (I mean, that sounds fun and all…). But you’ll be thankful that author Becky Selengut made this her mission as well as the focus of her latest book, How to Taste. Her approach to writing includes just the right about of geeky food science, laugh-out-loud humor, and aha moments on every page to keep your attention and make you…

Confused about cooking oil options? Here’s how to handle the most common ones

From sautéing to drizzling, it seems recipes requiring oil are everywhere. But with so many options out there, knowing how to pick the right one can be confusing. Don’t get sidetracked with fancy glass bottle packaging and product labels. Flavor and smoking point are the most important factors matter when making the choice between popular oils like canola oil, coconut oil, olive oil and relative newcomer, avocado oil. Here’s what you should know: smoking POINT Smoking point is the temperature at which oils start to smoke and burn. Every oil and fat has one whether it’s butter, margarine or canola, when you cook an oil past it’s smoking point, it will taste terrible. If you’re cooking foods at high heat, be sure to pick an appropriate oil. Vegetable oil Smoking point: between 400 to 450ºF Best for: Frying, achieving crispy, crunchy textures in food Taste: Neutral Nutrition: Calories per tablespoon, 124; Fat per tablespoon, 14…

More millennials, teens turning to cooking at home, survey shows

Making dinner at home is making a comeback. After decades of consumer preferences leaning toward dining out, a new survey shows that American preferences are starting to shift. The new momentum is largely a cost-saving move by millennials, but also a result of an increased interest in health and family time. According to a recent survey, 73 percent of adults currently make dinner at home at least four nights a week, but millennials are pushing that trend even further. Fifty percent surveyed they have intentions to cook at home more often than that in 2018. And 79 percent of teens, or those in the temporarily dubbed post-millennial generation — surveyed that they wanted their parents to cook at home more in 2018. One in three teens expressed an interest in helping their parents cook at home more often as a way to help their family eat healthier. So what’s causing the shift? About…

Here’s how your favorite chefs whip up scrambled eggs

Celebrity chefs have tons of unusual, creative recipes they’re individually known for, but what happens when we ask them to take us back to the basics? One of the first foods many of us learn to make is scrambled eggs, so virtually everyone in America (and beyond) has a tried-and-true way of preparing the classic breakfast meal. Check out the footage below to see if you can pick up any pointers from the pros. Or maybe you’ll decide your way was right all along! Anthony Bourdain https://youtu.be/sBJESSMD8qA Anthony Bourdain’s declares his simple style as “old school.” “Like a lot of simple things, people find a way to overcomplicate them and screw them up.” Bourdain leaves out any additions like milk or cream, and makes his morning egg just about the egg. He recommends cracking them into an intermediate bowl and beating, but not over-beating, the eggs. Gordon ramsey https://youtu.be/PUP7U5vTMM0 Ramsay’s fluffy scrambled eggs are…

Here’s how much you can eat over the holidays to lose or maintain weight

You no surprise that you’re likely to pack on a few pounds over the holidays. The extra appetizers, cocktails with friends, side dishes, desserts and post-meal champagne can quickly add up to an average of 7,000 calories on a holiday — more than triple the daily recommendation. Shockingly, 29 percent of people estimated they would eat fewer than 3,000 calories over the course of Christmas Day. While it’s just one day — and who counts calories on Christmas anyway? — it’s worth taking a peek at MealKitt’s photo series on portion control. Julian Gaine, the CEO of the British company known for its portion control tool, released photos showing what Christmas Day plates should look like if you’re looking to lose, maintain or gain weight. While this might not be your exact meal, the images can serve as a guide which you use to gauge how full your plate should be. For those…