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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…

An easy trick to bring butter and eggs to room temperature for baking

Baking happens. Sometimes it’s planned days ahead, and sometimes you get the urge for something sweet out of nowhere. But, if you find yourself up for a little impromptu baking session, you might run into a few problems. Recipes regularly call for room temperature eggs, butter, and even milk — that means setting them out ahead of time to warm up. So what’s an impulsive baker to do? While a perfect planner would have had these ingredients resting on the countertop for an hour ahead of time, you just pulled them from your fridge and need them ready now. The microwave looks tempting, but you know that’s seriously hit or miss — and usually makes a mess. Don’t fear. Here a few hacks so you can bake your cookies without waiting until 10 p.m. to start. How to bring butter to room temperature If you’ve ever tried to microwave butter…

How to make homemade chili seasoning

Skip the store-bought packets and make your own chili seasoning from scratch with spices you already have in your pantry. There’s a little game in my kitchen I like to play called, “How many tiny bottles of spices can I squeeze onto the shelf.” I have dried spices for all sorts of meals that I made once, needed a specific spice blend, and never made again. Thus, the spice just sits there with others that suffered the same fate, taking up valuable space in my tiny kitchen. Chili powder isn’t one of those. It’s so versatile, I’m actually happy to lend my leftover mix some shelf space. It’s great on everything from chili to tacos to roasted veggies. Put it on potatoes or even on top of mac and cheese or corn on the cob. What can’t you put chili powder on? Here is a spice blend that I want to…

Alton Brown shares genius tip for cooking steak

Alton Brown is known for his quirky personality and kooky — yet incredibly helpful — cooking tips. So when he posted a picture of a steak covered in mayonnaise to his Instagram account, fans knew it was worth looking into. (Remember when he told us to cook meatballs in an egg carton? Or how about juice a watermelon with an immersion blender?) Brown captioned the photo: “I didn’t have any oil or butter so..” https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn45Aa-HXwX/ It turns out that coating meat with mayo is actually nothing new to savvy chefs of the world. After all, mayonnaise is just eggs and oil, so the condiment can actually add more flavor to steaks and seafood than olive oil can do alone. This trick has also been used by grilled cheese masters to develop a crispier exterior. They mayo actually raises the smoking point, so the sandwich can be kept on the griddle longer, allowing…

10 mistakes you probably make when brewing coffee

You drink a few cups every day, so naturally, you consider your coffee making abilities above average. But regardless of how long you’ve been making morning coffee, you probably often overlook a few of these steps. Fix these 10 flaws with your process and you’ll make the best, boldest, most delicious cup of joe you’ve ever brewed. Mistake #1: You don’t use water that is hot enough Professional coffee shops always reach the ideal 195º to 205º temperature window for brewing, and that’s part of the reason their product tastes so great. Water temperatures in this range extracts the most flavor from the grinds. While you probably can’t make your commercial pot get any hotter, you can switch to the French press/pour over method, where you basically just pour hot water over ground beans and steep for four minutes. A French press will only run you about $30, but it…

How to make a buttermilk substitute at home

Buttermilk is one of those annoying ingredients you either have too much of, or you don’t have at all. It’s usually sold in cartons larger than you need, so leftovers sit in the fridge for weeks. By the time you need it again, the milk will have gone bad. If you’re tired of this endless bad buttermilk cycle, do not fret. There is a solution! Make your own. A bit about buttermilk Buttermilk is an acid, so recipes that call for it won’t turn out right if you just use plain milk. You need a substitute with the same acidity as buttermilk. This acid is usually required to create a reaction with baking soda or other leavening agent in the recipe. Regular milk just isn’t acidic enough. Substituting with plain milk will also produce drier, less flavorful baked goods and can reduce the rise on your muffin tops, biscuits or other…

How to open a pomegranate

Pomegranates have deliciously tart seeds called arils that peak in season from August to January in the Northern Hemisphere. Their bright color, elegant arils, and complex flavor make them a popular addition to holiday recipes. They can top smoothies, salads, or other veggie side dishes, or try them as a delicious fresh centerpiece on your cheese or charcuterie board. When you buy prepackaged arils, you’re spending a lot of money for a fruit that can spoil rather quickly. If you’re looking to add pomegranate arils to your table this year, consider harvesting them yourself. Of course, if you’ve ever tried to cut a pomegranate without a little know-how, you’ve probably made a merry red mess on your kitchen countertop. There is an expert trick to seeding these fruits. All you need is a knife, a bowl of water, and of course, a pomegranate. Here’s 7 steps for opening a pomegranate…

Pineapples are this year’s hottest carving trend: Here’s how you do it

After a lifetime of carving pumpkins, maybe you just need to mix things up a bit this year. Pineapples might not scream Halloween, but the tropical fruit works really well as an alternative to traditional gourds. Here are a handful of examples people have shared on social media: https://www.instagram.com/p/Barc8BoDVrd/?tagged=pineapplecarving https://www.instagram.com/p/BayOahpDPE9/?tagged=pineapplecarving https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba6rZ_Oll4H/?tagged=pineapplecarving This one even brings a bit of original Halloween back into the picture by using an orange glowing light in the middle. https://www.instagram.com/p/BacnvTjg9h4/?tagged=pineapplecarving Pineapples certainly do have more of a festive feel when fruity drinks are being served: https://www.instagram.com/p/9hXhBgsMpO/?tagged=pineapplecarving https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba7YPd5gFVd/?tagged=pineapplecarving Pumpkins have the advantage of smooth exterior skin, meaning you can get more detailed with your design. With pineapples, the prickly skin means your options are a bit more limited. But they’re easier to cut and carve than you might think. If you haven’t sliced many whole pineapples in your life, once the center fruit is removed, the exterior…

Is plastic better than wood?: The cutting board debate

Whether you cook three times a day or three times a year, you probably own a cutting board. It’s a kitchen staple with one simple job, but without it, you wouldn’t have anywhere to cut, chop, dice, or slice your meats, apples, and onions. While you may know you need a cutting board, do you know when you should choose a wooden board over a plastic one, or vice versa? After all, anything your food touches can be a source of contamination and foodborne illness, so kitchen tools and care are no small decision. As it turns out, there are some major differences between boards you should know before you head to the store. Wood versus plastic For most of history, chopping blocks then cutting boards were all made of wood. But the invention of modern plastics in 1907 meant that plastic utensils slowly began making its way into people’s…