Seafood cookery can seem a bit intimidating, but it's often a relatively simple process, with much of the dish's success relying on sourcing excellent fresh product. With a few guidelines and handy tricks in mind, these briny beauties need no longer be relegated to restaurant fare. Keep reading for the breakdown on purchasing guidelines for everything from fish fillets to caviar.
Throughout the years, I've seen several different ways of achieving perfectly wilted kale. Growing up, my mom would pan-fry the dark, leafy green, smothering it with soy sauce and diced red bell pepper to offset its bitter flavor. When I was in culinary school, I was taught to blanch and shock the kale, then sauté it à la minute. However, I think I've discovered the most simple method of kale preparation — steaming — and it requires less than five minutes and only one pot. Put away the sauces and oils and bust out the old-school stainless steel vegetable steamer, because you're going to love steamed kale, unadulterated.
Oatmeal may never have the magnetic allure of luscious chocolate cake or breakfast brethren like lofty dutch babies or loaded breakfast burritos. Still, one need not resign to a bland or gloppy bowl: I start almost every day with a bowl full to the brim and have yet to grow bored. Here are a few tips that are too good not to share.
- Don't forget the salt: While the instructions on the tub of oats might imply that salt is optional, quite frankly it's not. Your bowl of oatmeal shouldn't taste salty (unless, of course, you're trying a savory iteration, like the one below), but adding a hefty pinch will help enhance flavors whether nutty, sweet, or creamy. Just make sure to season to taste after it's done cooking; if you add it at the start, the oats will release less of their starch, and the resulting texture won't be as creamy.
- Skip instant oats: These flaky par-cooked fragments might simmer up quicker, but with a catch: the resulting bowl of oatmeal will be reminiscent of wallpaper paste. Instead, try rolled (old-fashioned) oats or steel-cut groats. Not only are these options more toothsome and robustly flavored, they'll stave off hunger longer.
- Swap out water for other liquids: Boost flavor by experimenting with other liquids. For a creamier bowl, try milk or nondairy alternatives like almond or soy milk. For zestier flavor, replace up to half of the water with juices like pomegranate or orange.
Steaming is arguably one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables, but that doesn't mean it's boring. Not only do properly steamed vegetables retain most of their nutrients, but the brightly colored vegetables are incredibly appetizing and full of flavor.
There are a few tricks to perfect steaming — and they don't necessarily involve having to own a steamer!
Firstly, the water should be boiling before you add the vegetables to your steamer basket to ensure even temperature throughout the cooking process. Try not to crowd the steamer with too many vegetables and take care to either properly layer your steamer basket according to cooking time or just cook up several batches. Firm vegetables like potatoes and carrots take longer to steam and should be placed toward the bottom of the steamer basket, while green beans and spinach take much less time and can be added later to the top.
Timing Is Everything
The most important part of steaming vegetables is the timing. Oversteam, and you'll suffer through bland, nutrient-poor, dull vegetables. But practice makes perfect; you'll soon learn what timing works for you.
For more steaming tips, keep reading.
Welcome to our new series, Happiest Hour, where we invite you to learn how to make our favorite classic and contemporary cocktails. In our first installment, Brandi and Susannah show you how to make a basic version of America's most beloved hair of the dog, the Bloody Mary. Just remember the basics: a quality juice base, a spirit, and savory seasonings. Then, once you've mastered the base recipe, play around with the ingredients by subbing in whatever tickles your fancy: tequila, olive juice, or even our favorite, a garnish of bacon!
Dread cooking when it's cold outside? We've got a recipe for chicken pot pie that's sure to warm your house (not to mention your soul). This version — which comes courtesy of YumSugar host Brandi Milloy's grandma herself! — is ready to eat in under an hour. Watch the video to learn how to make everything, from the creamy chicken filling down to that perfectly golden, flaky pie crust. On Brandi: Active Basic top, Jessie Steele Apron and jewelry by Edward Avedis.
Champagne and sparkling wine are pretty fancy on their own, but if you're looking to make the moment even more special, we've got a few simple ideas for you.
- Use berries: Drop a few fresh raspberries or blackberries in your glass for a fruity addition. The delicate champagne bubbles will get trapped in the berry, and you'll be left with a fizzy treat at the end of your drink. Pomegranate seeds are another great option, as they float really sweetly among the bubbles.
- Make a champagne cocktail: This classic libation involves a sugar cube, bitters, and just a touch of Armagnac.
- Play with interesting liqueurs: A bit of cassis transforms a glass of champagne into a kir royale. Play around with your favorite liqueurs, like St-Germain or crème de violette, to create memorable drinks.
- Create a sugar rim: Get crafty with your champagne glass by using sanding sugar. Colorful sugar rims are unexpected and playful.
- Make a strawberry garnish: A strawberry and a sprig of fresh mint can make a lovely garnish — one that makes any occasion even more celebratory.
How do you like to fancy up your glass of bubbly?
Brace yourself for the merriest Christmas of all this year, thanks to our eggnog martini. It's creamy, rich, and sings of spices from cinnamon to nutmeg — and it's all topped off with a crunchy, boozy graham-cracker-crust rim. Watch the video, then download an eggnog martini recipe to add even more spring to your holiday step!