Leeks may look (and taste) lovely, but all it takes is one bite of tragically sandy potato leek soup to realize that there's a surprising amount of gritty soil lurking between their many layers. Over the years we've tried a few methods to deal with this unglamorous task — some more successful than others — and have since then settled on a quick and dirty method that'll help you speed through meal prep. Keep reading for our step-by-step tutorial.
Despite its intricate hills and valleys, a crimped bakery-style pie crust only looks tricky to re-create at home. If you have two hands and a few minutes to spare, you're well on your way to accomplishing this impressive feat. If you're not yet convinced, click through for the detailed step-by-step guide.
PS While you're at it, skip the store-bought crusts and make and roll out a flaky all-butter pie crust at home.
Can we make a suggestion? The next time you have a spare hour and are looking for a simple kitchen project, brown up a big batch of caramelized onions. While this is a relatively simple task, it does take time — typically 45 minutes to an hour — and requires frequent attention. So catch up on a favorite food podcast, or do the dishes during the downtime, and know that your efforts will be rewarded with a pile of glossy, robustly flavored onions that are sure to add spunk to meals throughout the week.
I've always praised butternut squash for its mild sweetness and versatility — but I was surprised when so many of you said you'd never prepared one before, or find it hard to work with. Since it'd be a bummer to miss out on this Fall vegetable at home (unless you're willing to pony up $400 for an automated butternut squash peeler!), I thought I'd help you out with instructions on how to prep it yourself. Here's a step-by-step lesson.
Photo: Nicole Perry
Brown butter is my go-to trick for adding nutty flavor and depth to everything from carrot cupcakes to moist and flaky fillets of fish, but my first go-around with this classic technique was, admittedly, a bit intimidating. Since then, I've realized that as long as you follow a few simple steps, it's rather simple, and entirely worth the effort. Keep reading to learn the tricks of the trade.
Season to taste: three simple words that can, and often do, mean the difference between a bland and a boisterous dish, but what does it mean exactly? It may seem like a cop-out directive added by lazy recipe writers, but truly, even if a recipe does not explicitly call this step out, it's best practice to include it in your cooking process.
In an ideal world, a recipe would turn out the same regardless of who's at the stove, the ingredients and tools they used, and their interpretation of instructions, but that's simply not the case. While most foods should not taste explicitly salty, tart, hot, or oily, the inclusion of small amounts of ingredients with these qualities can take a dish from bland to exceptional in a flash.
We've all been there: excited over the prospect of a home-baked cake, you hastily assemble all of the necessary ingredients, read through the instructions, and realize one crucial step was overlooked: how to prep the cake pans. Now you could certainly purchase parchment rounds (and may as well so you're stocked for the next go-around), but sometimes cake cannot wait, and you must take matters into your own hands. Luckily, with a little know-how (if you've ever made a paper snowflake, the process will seem familiar), this is an easy fix.
For many years I avoided buying whole pomegranates for fear of juice splatter reminiscent of a crime scene, instead turning to overpriced, often bland and mushy prepackaged seeds. Since then I've rectified my ways, and realized that a few simple steps are all that separate me from the delicate juicy arils within, hold the mess. Keep reading to learn the tricks to this task.
Consider yourself a fan of deep-fried food? Before you try deep-frying at home, check out these tips for a safe, efficient cooking process. No matter what you're frying, it's smart to refresh yourself on all the basics. We've outlined everything from which pan to use to which oils are best to how you can avoid any accidents. If you're planning to fry up some foods this Fall, follow these simple steps for a tasty, perfectly cooked dish:
- Choose a safe skillet. Since you're using a good amount of oil and plan to cook at high heats, you want your pan to be deep and sturdy. If you're not sure which skillet to try, there's another, beginner-friendly option: an electric deep fryer. With the electric version, you can control temperature settings and use an automatic timer.
- Pick the appropriate cooking oil. Selections will vary from recipe to recipe, but be sure to choose an oil with a high smoke point — an oil that won't break down at high temperatures. Canola oil, peanut oil, and sunflower oil are all great options.
- Prep the food. It's more than just a saying: oil and water don't mix. For that reason, you need to dry your foods completely before adding them to the pan. Pat them dry with a paper towel or go for a coating like flour or bread crumbs. The best part? The coating will lock in moisture.
- Safely pour and heat the oil. To avoid splatters, add the oil to the skillet while the pan is cool. You should also make sure to leave plenty of room for the oil to rise and bubble without spilling over. A good rule of thumb: keep the oil below the half-filled mark.
- Slowly add the food. Stay safe and burn-free by carefully lowering each piece of food into the oil. Don't crowd the pieces together or the food may not cook through evenly.
- Monitor the temperature. One of the most important aspects of deep-frying is to ensure a consistent cooking temperature. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and keep the temperature in the range of 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature dips too low, you'll risk greasy food, and if it gets too high, the oil can smoke or catch fire. Using a deep-fry thermometer can help you keep it steady.
- Watch the food's color. Your goal is to remove the food when it's turned a golden-brown shade. Do so cautiously, piece by piece, then turn off the heat and let the pan cool before taking it off the stove.
Do you have any deep-frying tips? Share them in the comments below!
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.