If you've ever wondered what makes the chocolate in bonbons so smooth and shiny, it's a technique called tempering, which is a method of melting chocolate to a specific temperature in order for the fat and sugar molecules to collide so that when the chocolate sets, it creates an attractive sheen and toothsome snap. While it may seem like an elusive, mysterious technique that is better left to chocolatiers, it can be done at home in about two hours, as long as you have a candy thermometer and the proper chocolate. For the adventurous pastry cooks out there, here's how to temper dark chocolate, in pictures.
Welcome to our new series Kitchen Hacks, where we take ordinary household objects and transform them into useful kitchen tools. We know it's difficult to stock a kitchen with every gizmo and gadget, especially if you live in tight quarters. So instead of junking up your drawers with unused items, try make-shifting kitchen tools with our tips.It's always a messy and upsetting event when a wine bottle cracks and its precious contents leak during transit. The diligent packer may cover it in styrofoam or bubble wrap, but many of us are guilty of haphazardly wrapping the bottles in old kitchen towels and crossing our fingers they arrive to the next destination in one piece.
Here's a new way to easily and securely wrap up wine if you don't have a wine sleeve handy. We recently received a bottle of Las Rocas Garnacha, outfitted in the most unexpected makeshift wine sleeve: a kitchen mitt! A fluffy cotton kitchen mitt fits a wine bottle snugly — plus it also seconds as a cute gift if you're bringing the bottle over to a friend's place. Just be sure to find a long glove, so the neck of the bottle stays protected, too.
Know of any other smart ways to transport wine? Share them with us below.
Welcome to our new series Kitchen Hacks, where we take ordinary household objects and transform them into useful kitchen tools. We know it's difficult to stock a kitchen with every gizmo and gadget, especially if you live in tight quarters. So instead of junking up your drawers with unused items, try make-shifting kitchen tools with our tips.
Have you ever been ready to roll out your dough only to realize you've misplaced your rolling pin? No problem! Rolling pins are incredibly easy to makeshift using an empty wine bottle. Since glass stays cold, the wine bottle keeps the dough firm and malleable, so the dough won't warm up and start sticking to surfaces. The perfectly round shape and long body of the bottle also contribute to making this an amazing substitution for a rolling pin.
Before you begin rolling, remove the bottle's label, scrape off the sticky glue residue, and wash the outside to disinfect it. Or, for a quick fix, simply cover the bottle in saran wrap (although it should be noted, the saran wrap may leave tiny line indentations in the dough). Once the bottle is washed or wrapped, sprinkle it with flour all around. Then roll out the dough by keeping your hands on the top of the bottle's body and pressing down firmly as you slowly rotate the bottle. Ta-da! It's as simple as that.
Have you ever tried this technique out before? Were your results successful?
Source: Nicole Hamaker for Pinch My Salt
Cooking fluffy, nutty, perfectly prepared whole grains can be a challenging task, even for the most trained cooks. Luckily, there are a few rules to live by to avoid creating the glob monster.
- Presoak: Just as soaking beans overnight makes them softer and faster to cook, the same works for tougher grains. Try soaking brown rice, amaranth, millet, quinoa, or buckwheat in water overnight.
- Exact measurements: Like baking, grains require exact measurements. Use dry measuring cups for the grains and a liquid measuring cup for the water or broth.
- Dry roast: A dry roast opens the tough exterior and adds a nice toasted flavor to the grains. Rinse whole grains thoroughly in water, and then place them in a medium- to large-sized pot. Over medium-high heat, roast the grains until they are dry and fragrant. Meanwhile, boil the water needed for the grains. When grains are roasted, pour in the exact measurement of boiling water and quickly close the lid to prevent the hot water and grains from sputtering everywhere.
A couple of years ago I watched the Barefoot Contessa roast bacon in the oven. She was making a BLT and didn't need the bacon fat. I had never thought to bake bacon, and the idea has changed my life! Now, I roast bacon all the time. It's an easy, convenient, and splatter-free way to cook it. Here's what you do:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Place the raw bacon in a row on the parchment paper.
- Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until bacon is crisp and cooked.
- Remove bacon to paper towel lined plates, pat dry, and use however you want.
Do you ever cook bacon in the oven?
I adore jalapeño poppers so much that they'd be a guaranteed part of my last meal — but up until recently, I'd never made them at home. This was in large part due to past misadventures in hot pepper handling (key takeaway: no matter what happens, don't touch your face when working with chiles). But this weekend, I finally overcame my fear of prepping poppers, and guess what? It wasn't nearly as scary as I'd thought. Follow a few careful steps, and you're sure to find success with these, not only in the kitchen, but also at the Super Bowl party table.
From exotic fiddlehead ferns to bright-green peas, there's a bevy of intriguing produce to appreciate during the short window of May and June, when greens and things are abloom all across the country. One can't-miss is the baby artichoke. Sure, we love its larger counterpart, but there's something incredibly precious about this mini version, which is so premature and tender that it's eaten whole, choke and all. Aside from keeping your eyes peeled for a rare sighting, the key to enjoying them during Spring is to trim them correctly, so they're free of any tough stems or leaves. New to doing this? Read ahead to become an instant baby artichoke expert.
Flambéing plays a role in dishes such as bananas Foster, crepes Suzette, and steak Diane.
Source: Flickr User enersauce
Unfamiliar with the cooking technique? Learn how to make chicken paillards at home.