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.
Prepping a main dish is hard enough, let alone having to whip up a side dish too. Rather than skipping the goodness altogether, try these vegetarian sides that are easy to make and won't doom your diet. With seven options — one for each day of the week — consider the planning (and tomorrow's lunch) done. Click through to find your protein's partner in crime!
A word to the wise: if your boyfriend's mom makes you dinner, eat up, tasty or not. Luckily, I have no need to fake smiles through gummy pasta and dried-out pound cake; one of the best cooks I know just happens to have brought up my sweetie.
She introduced to me these robust feta-studded herbed biscuits, which I had no problem scarfing down (I may have eaten two, despite their large size). These biscuits have enough verve and spunk to enjoy unadorned, but I'd imagine that they'd make for a decadent breakfast sandwich, split in half and layered with fried egg, bacon, and a slice of gooey mild cheese like fontina.
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.
Plan on turning on the grill this weekend? Here are 10 guidelines to cook by, plus a foolproof recipe for Mexican-style corn.
We don't know about you, but we believe fine weather, good company, and a hot grill are all you need for a perfectly delicious Summer. But preparing a grilled meal takes practice, patience, and attention to detail. Here are some tips to ensure that your outdoor cooking remains rewarding, successful, and safe.
- Stay away from dangerous locations. Make sure the grill is located in an out-of-the-way spot several feet from your home (and children and pets, for that matter).
- Don't run out of fuel. You don't want the grill to peter out before the food is cooked, so make sure you have enough fuel on hand. This means at least six quarts of charcoal. If you're using gas, then here's an easy way to measure the level in your grill's propane tank.
- Keep your grill clean. Check the drip pan on your gas grill; built-up grease can be a fire hazard. On a charcoal grill, dispose of ashes left over from previous grilling before firing it up again. These ashes will affect cooking times and give off-flavors.
- Clean and oil the cooking grate before cooking. This will prevent foods from sticking and picking up off-flavors. Here's a list of our favorite grill gadgets, including our winning grill brush.
- Think ahead. Gas grills need to preheat for 15 minutes, and charcoal takes about five minutes once the coals are hot to achieve the proper temperature. Be sure to factor these times into your plans.
- Avoid cross-contamination. Use separate platters for raw foods and cooked foods, use clean utensils after handling raw foods, and always dispose of leftover marinades. If you have a basting liquid, then pour what you need for cooking into a separate dish and set aside the rest for serving.
- Don't judge a book by its cover. Chicken parts with nice grill marks can still be raw in the middle. An instant-read thermometer is the most effective tool for checking doneness.
- Bigger (and hotter) isn't always better. Gas grills have knobs for a reason, so adjust the heat as necessary to keep things in control. For charcoal grilling, use only the amount of coals specified in the recipe.
- Save the sauce until the end. Sauces are affected by intense heat. If the sauce is applied to your food too early, then the sugars in it may char and become bitter. There are exceptions, but we typically apply sauces five minutes before the food is done.
- Watch the weather. If it is cold or windy, then you may need to cook foods for a few minutes longer than directed.
Read on to see a can't-fail recipe for a Summer grilling favorite: Mexican-style grilled corn.
It's a staple at Summer BBQs, but when you're trying to make healthy choices, many macaroni or pasta salad recipes are far too high in fat, calorie, and sodium. Swap out your old recipe for this fiber-filled salad; crisp veggies, whole wheat pasta, plus a low-fat dressing come together to create a tasty pasta dish that's less than 215 calories per serving and packed with vitamins A and C.
Between the chopped pickles and tangy dijon mustard, the flavor of this vegan Summer side is so good you won't even miss the mayo! Keep reading to learn all about your new favorite pasta salad recipe.
It's still technically Spring, but given how April showers have quickly passed into sunny May days, now's the perfect time to head to the outdoors and fire up the grates for a pre-Summer cookout.
You could go for the classic sides — or just grab bags of your favorite chips — but putting in some extra effort won't go unnoticed by all your guests who are looking forward to what you'll be heating up on the grill! Click through to check out eight less-conventional sides that will have everyone impressed.
A grain-free life does not have to be free of comfort food! When you're craving a big bowl of garlicky pasta, cook up these zucchini noodles aglio et olio (garlic and oil) instead. The real comfort here, other than that fragrant garlic, comes from "breadcrumbs" created from toasted almond meal; I was truly surprised by how much I enjoyed their flavor and texture.
Keep reading for this protein-packed, Paleo-friendly recipe for pasta.
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. This week: how to perfect a nostalgic side, the tater tot.
We recently found that our nostalgia for frozen tots, like many kid-friendly foods, outshone the reality. Determined to right this wrong, we hit the test kitchen in search of potato tots with a golden, crunchy exterior and light, fluffy interior. After 100 pounds of potatoes, we finally got a recipe for tots that adults can't get enough of, either.
Why this recipe works: Many recipes simply mix coarsely ground potato with flour and egg, which fry up into raw, dense nuggets. We found that parcooking the chopped potato in the microwave was a step in the right direction, but the tots were still too heavy. Reducing the flour and omitting the egg helped, but the tots were still not light and fluffy. To minimize the gluey texture of potato starch, we tried processing the potatoes with water. Perfection. This step rinsed off the excess starch, and a small amount of salt in the mixture kept the interior downy white.
Keep reading to see the recipe for tater tots.
Flaky, multilayered biscuits are unbeatable, but when I want to whip up a batch of biscuits in a flash, the supersimple drop biscuit comes into play. These biscuits — essentially a dump-and-stir operation, aided by the heat of a cast-iron skillet — are a useful addition to your baking arsenal for days when a buttery treat needs to come together with minimal effort.
These are best warm (or reheated) and are tangy enough to be enjoyed plain, thanks to a hefty dose of buttermilk. They're extra special when drizzled with honey or split in half and spread with jam or a hearty pat of butter.