Are you guilty of skipping the common recipe directive to freshly grind spices like nutmeg, coriander, and the subject at hand: cardamom? Sure, it tacks on time to your recipe prep, but the results are more than worth the minimal time and effort. As soon as spices are ground (often months earlier, if buying preground spices), aroma and flavor begins to dissipate; wait a year to use your spice stash, and you'll be working with what's essentially lightly scented dust. Instead, make the extra effort; trust us, you'll be a freshly ground convert once you taste the difference.
Looking to preserve Summer's bounty of tomatoes for chilly seasons to come? Chances are, you've been advised to peel your tomatoes. While most fruits and vegetables are prepped with a few swipes of a vegetable peeler
, tomatoes require a little extra TLC, due to their juicy delicate flesh. Luckily, the process is extremely simple, and requires no specialized equipment; keep reading to learn how.
I may be a whiz in the kitchen, but a green thumb I am not: a few weeks ago, I managed to kill a succulent over the course of a weekend (I thought those things were bulletproof!). This Summer, I bought a few houseplants; the twiggy remains now lay sadly outside my window. And remember the great wall of mushroom? So when it came to fermentation, I thought there was no chance I could successfully and safely ferment food — until now.
For years, I've eyeballed Kimberly Snyder's recipe for a "probiotic and enzyme salad," aka homemade sauerkraut. I figured that if I attempted it, I would just end up fermenting myself to death à la botulism. The written recipe seemed easy — almost suspiciously easy. Were there left out details that would aid in my demise? But my complete and utter craving for fermented kraut and resistance to spending $10 a jar for the stuff in grocery stores inspired me to roll up my sleeves, sterilize my jars, and do this thing anyway.
Before you begin, read, reread, and triple read the recipe and follow each step, including the jars used. The first time I made this, I didn't follow the directions and filled the sauerkraut in whatever glass jars were lying around my house. The repurposed honey jars that I used leaked, and the end product tasted funk-mented, not sauerkraut-y.
But the cabbage that fermented in Mason jars (with proper lids) turned out fine. After fermentation, I seasoned the kraut with a hefty pinch of salt to bring out its awesome cruciferous flavor. Simply sprinkle a generous amount on top of the sauerkraut, screw on the cap, shake to let the salt dissolve, and then unscrew and keep seasoning and tasting until it's right.
Once the sauerkraut is finished fermenting, it's a vibrant pink. Try sauerkraut with eggs in the morning, on sandwiches or salads for lunch, and as a side condiment in any Asian fare. Once you've finished the jar, don't toss the liquid! Drink it plain (if you're into pickle juice) or use it as the vinegar in salad dressings. Keep reading for the recipe.
Adorable filled cupcakes might seem like a project best left to the professionals, but let me reassure you that they're not; the requisite technique is actually quite easy to master (with a little guidance, of course). Follow along with this step-by-step guide and you'll be piping eye-catching filling into your favorite petite treats in next to no time.
If you've resolved to master your home bar, look no further; take cocktails from basic to brilliant with indispensable bartending techniques that go beyond shaking and stirring. From rimming glasses with salt or sugar to dry-shaking egg whites to add volume to light and frothy cocktails, these nine skills will add flair and flavor to your cocktail hour.
Sweet, tender, and packed full of earthy flavor, roasted beets are a stellar inclusion to a variety of salads, soups, and even pizza (more on that later). But before we get carried away praising this oft-maligned root vegetable, let's first tackle how to roast them up with a minimum of stress and effort.
A word to the wise: to make roasted beets a weeknight-friendly meal addition, roast up a big batch over the weekend when time is (relatively) plentiful and add them to dishes all week long.
You can always shellac frosting over your cupcakes, but learning a few simple but sophisticated techniques can give your pretty pastries a professional touch, not to mention impress your friends and family. Here are several simple but dazzling ways to decorate your cupcakes.
Making caramel may seem like a daunting task, but it is an exhilarating (and delicious) science project that requires a little preparation, patience, and timing. Challenge your candy-making skills by trying out this soft caramel recipe by a chef from the Culinary Institute of America.
As you cook the caramel on the stove top, you will notice the sugar, butter, and evaporated milk will slowly deepen in color and flavor. Caramel expands and bubbles as it cooks, so use a larger pot to avoid a hot, sticky mess from boiling over. As you cook, your flame should be high enough to allow the caramel to bubble yet low enough to allow the caramel to slowly develop its flavors.
When you reach the magic number, work quickly and don't delay! Even a few degrees can completely change the texture, consistency, and flavor of a caramel. But use extreme caution, because caramel burns are dangerous and painful; keep a bowl of ice water nearby just in case.
Allow the caramel to cool completely before you use a chef's knife to cut the slab into strips, then into square pieces. Use your fingers to mold the individual pieces into perfect squares.
Few things kill a peach pie faster than flabby, long-cooked skin. Luckily, peeling peaches is far less daunting than it may appear on the outset. A few quick steps are all that separate an exceptional peach pie from a total flop.
Score the Skin
Use a sharp paring knife to score the skin, by making a very shallow cut (avoid marring the flesh as much as possible) into the pointed end of each peach, in an x-shape. This will aid the peeling process later on.
Keep reading to learn how to easily peel peaches.