Pasta: you love it, but how well do you know it? From good ol' spaghetti to long, lean linguine, there are several variations and types of this Italian staple. Whether you choose to serve it with sauce or bake it up with cheese, there's not much to hate. Take our quiz and put your pasta knowledge to the test — and when the results are in, reward yourself with a big bowl for dinner tonight!
Snooty as they may sound, basic wine descriptors can come in handy, whether you're visiting a winery, hosting a wine tasting, or searching for a picnic-perfect wine. After all, many common wine terms allow you to articulate what your wine preferences are — light-bodied or full-bodied, earthy or fruit.
Beyond basic wine terminology, however, there are a number of adjectives used by wine industry folk that — let's face it — can be hard to understand. (What does "chewy" mean, anyway?) To help us wade through the confusing world of winespeak, we subjected our friend, Food & Wine executive editor Ray Isle, to a lightning round of seemingly cryptic wine terms. Here are his stream-of-consciousness answers.
- Chewy: "Chewy tends to mean a pretty big wine, also with tannins, and a fair amount of tannic structure."
- Clean: "Clean means, to me, not flawed. It could mean two things, but straight up: clean means not stinky, not full of weird, off aromas. If the wine-making is clean, there's no weird funkitude to it. In a metaphoric way, clean can also mean straightforward — not simple, but no odd corners sticking out. Not necessarily not complex, but not jarring. (Sometimes a wine that's really great will have a characteristic that you think, 'That's kinda odd. It's really great, but that's kind of odd.') Clean is direct; to me, it really means no wine-making flaws."
- Finesse: "Finesse in a wine is essentially someone trying to say there's a quality of delicacy to it, a nuanced nature to the wine. It's not clumsy."
"Fleshy," "nervy," "racy," and more terms, after the jump.
Kombucha, once a product with a small but devoted following, has surged so much in popularity that it's largely left behind its somewhat crunchy reputation. It's no longer available at just health stores; it's now even stocked at some drugstores. But what is it exactly, and what's all the fuss?
The short answer: kombucha is a fermented, probiotic tea that's tart, lightly sweetened, and slightly effervescent.
The long answer: Whether homemade or store-bought, kombucha gets its characteristic tang and effervescence from a fermentation process somewhat similar to brewing vinegar. Tea, sweetener, a SCOBY (short for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), and flavor additives like fruit juice or ginger are combined and fermented in a process that lasts about 10 days.
Dry, dirty, shaken — when it comes to tasty martinis, ordering can be a little more complicated than it should be. Before you hit the bars to celebrate National Martini Day (it's today!), get the full scoop on everything you need to become a martini maven.
Here, we're giving you the liquor lowdown on all the different drink versions so that the next time you approach the bartender, you'll sound as seasoned as James Bond or good ol' Karen Walker from Will & Grace.
- Gin or vodka: When you order a martini, you'll usually get a cocktail made with gin and a hint of dry vermouth — fortified wine flavored with a variety of herbs — in a five-to-one ratio. Expect an olive or a twist of lemon peel as garnish. Many martinis use vodka instead, but make sure to specify with the bartender if that's your preference.
- Dry, wet, or perfect: Ordering it "dry" is asking for a martini with less vermouth than usual. A "wet" martini — you guessed it — comes with more vermouth than the standard ratio. And "perfect"? Well, that just means the drink uses equal amounts of gin and vermouth.
- Shaken or stirred: "Shaken, not stirred" might sound familiar thanks to Mr. Bond. A shaken martini, mixed in a cocktail shaker with ice, usually produces an icier, cloudier, and slightly more diluted drink. A stirred martini chills the cocktail without diluting it quite as much from the ice.
- Dirty: Olive lovers are sure to appreciate a "dirty" martini. This version adds olive juice for an extra briny taste.
- Gibson: A gibson is still a martini; the only difference is that is comes garnished with a cocktail onion instead of an olive or peel.
- Vesper: For something a bit different, try a vesper: a martini composed of gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc, and a lemon twist.
Of course, martinis come in flavored versions, like cranberry, too. Now that you have the entire 411, get ready, get set, and sip away!
Have you ever found yourself staring down the greens section of your market, shopping list clutched in hand, trying to determine which variety of kale is best suited to a recipe that simply specifies "kale"? Fret not! While any variety you might choose will likely do the trick, keep reading for a breakdown of the three most common varieties of this leafy green, and when it's best to use each.
Curly and Red Kale
Hearty, ridged, and almost frilly in appearance, curly and red kale can be used interchangeably; the main difference between the two is merely aesthetic. Use either in cooked dishes where the priority is helping sauce stick to the leaves, like vegan "cheesy" kale chips. Sauce will nestle into the leaves' nooks and crannies, much like the way chunkier pasta sauce clings to ridged pasta. Avoid curly and red kale in dishes where the green is served raw, as their heartier texture can be unpleasantly toothsome, even after ribboning or massaging.
We've got a partnership with the recipe, equipment, and product-testing gurus at America's Test Kitchen. They'll be sharing some of their time-tested recipes and technical expertise with us weekly. Today's topic? A guide to 17 common Italian pastas, plus a fast, easy recipe for meatless pasta recipe to boot.
Ridged, tubed, stranded—they're all here.
What could be a higher art form than Italian pasta names—where pappardelle means "gulp down" and ziti translates to "bridegroom"? Pairing a pasta shape with the right sauce is more art than science. However, we think there’s only one basic rule to follow: Thick, chunky sauces go with short pastas, and thin, smooth, or light sauces with strand pasta. (Of course, there are a few exceptions—but that’s where the art comes in.) Although we specify pasta shapes for every recipe we publish, like campanelle in pasta with roasted tomatoes and porcini sauce, you should feel free to substitute other pasta shapes as long as you’re following this one basic rule.
Read on for the pasta shapes we use most often, along with translations or alternate names, plus some measuring tips.
A good cup of joe signifies the start of a new day, a well-deserved break, the end of a great meal, and so much more. Coffee is most definitely an important component in many cultures. With that comes an abundance of different types of coffeemakers. If you've ever been curious about the functionality of these different brewers, you've come to the right place. Click through to learn about coffeemakers in every shape and size.
We've got a partnership with the recipe, equipment, and product testing gurus at America's Test Kitchen. They'll be sharing some of their time-tested recipes and technical expertise with us weekly. Today's topic: essential Asian ingredients to stock in your larder, and an easy recipe for Asian-inspired noodles.
From white miso to kecap manis, many supermarkets now carry a wider array of Asian ingredients—look for them in the international foods aisle. You can also hit a specialty store or an Asian market to get the ingredients you need to make a flavorful stir-fry or curry. Keep reading to learn more about 13 common Asian ingredients that you’ll find in many of our recipes — and a recipe that utilizes many of them.
Aside from the occasional lamb chop, how frequently are you eating lamb? Chances are, not terribly often. While lamb was big in the 1940s and 1950s, it's taken a nosedive thanks to the rise of other animal proteins. Currently, the average American consumes 85 pounds of beef annually; in contrast, Americans eat less than a pound of lamb each year.
Part of this decline, I suspect, is because many home chefs don't feel comfortable working with the meat; at its best, lamb is sweet and tender, with a distinctly exotic flavor, but it can also be ruined when the animal is old and gamey. But working with lamb is easy: all it takes is a simple understanding of seasonality, visual cues, and cuts. Master this, and you're virtually guaranteed to sit down to a succulent meal.
First Things First: What Is Lamb?
Technically, lamb refers to the meat of a sheep that is less than a year old. If you spot the term "hogget," that's the same animal at 1 to 2 years of age; anything older than this, and it's mutton. Unless you're a fan of a much stronger flavor, choose lamb, as sheep develop a gamier flavor as they age.
More — including the best season to buy lamb, what to look for, and popular cuts — when you read on.
We may start our morning off with a fermented kombucha drink, but back in the Middle Ages, the main source of hydration was ale. That's right: beer! Originating from the Old English world ealu, ale has been around for centuries and was a necessity during the Middle Ages, since the risks for contaminated water were great and the fermented beverage likely killed any harmful bacteria. While our consumption of ale has diminished greatly since then (as lagers seem to reign supreme in the beer industry), you may find yourself ordering a stout or a Belgian white and wonder, "Hmm, is this a lager or an ale?"
Here's the first and most noticeable way to recognize the difference: the taste and appearance. Compared to lagers, which tend to be crisp, clean-tasting, light-bodied, and served really cold, ale is bitter, fruity, full-bodied, and served only slightly cooler than room temperature. But to make things taste the way they do, it's all in the method of fermentation.