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Cooking (65 posts)
2. Almost any cooked vegetables—broccoli, zucchini, potato—can be mashed and made into fritters. Simply add to a beaten egg, flour, and salt (you want the mixture to resemble thick pancake batter), and fry in canola oil until brown on both sides.
3. Puree surplus berries, then add lemon juice and sugar to taste for an easy pancake topping or yogurt stir-in.
Keep Reading: Your biggest cooking questions—answers!
A top choice for your late summer revelries, fried chicken is a classic—but to many of us, it's also...complicated. But making fried chicken from scratch means you can customize every step of the process, which allows you to get as creative – and healthy – as you want.
Enter Dante Gonzales, the Los Angeles-based chef and fried
chicken master whose upcoming cookbook, Ride
or Fry, will be out this November. Gonzalez recently hosted a luncheon where guests got a chance to taste his perfectly seasoned signature crisped fowl. We had to ask how to
achieve the same results at home.
His advice? Check out these 5 easy steps...
"Substitute soft goat cheese for half the cream cheese in your recipe to add a fresh tanginess."
—Anne Burrell, host of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef
"I mix a teaspoon of rose water and half a teaspoon of ground cardamom into the batter, then garnish with a generous sprinkle of chopped pistachios. It tastes so delicate and lovely!" —Aarti Sequeira, host of Aarti Party
"I love substituting a gingersnap crust for the usual graham cracker. Just pulse gingersnap cookies into crumbs in a food processor. Mix with melted butter, then press the mixture down in the bottom of your cheesecake pan and bake for ten minutes."
—Gina Neely, cohost of Down Home with the Neelys
Strawberry-buttermilk baked doughnuts recipe
The new delicious: creamy, crunchy, crumbly treats to try
Bring both a small and a large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 cups chopped kale to the small one and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. In the large pot, cook an 8-ounce package of soba noodles according to package directions, reserving 1 cup cooking water when draining. Toss noodles with 1 Tbsp. oil. In a frying pan, sauté a large handful of chopped walnuts in oil until golden. Add kale, walnuts, small pinches of salt and cayenne pepper, and ¼ cup cooking water to noodles. Stir and add more cooking water, if desired, and lots of grated Parmesan.
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8 desserts you can make in just 10 minutes
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking there's a Right Way to do everything. For example, dinner. I know I am under the impression that families are supposed to eat dinner like so: arranged around the perfectly set table, chatting about the day, eating a freshly-prepared meal composed of locally-grown vegetables and exotic spices that everyone is happy to try. This is not my dinner reality. Then again, it's not the dinner reality of anyone I know, either.
The gorgeous photography of Miho Aikawa, however, has me thinking that maybe that's totally okay. Her series "Dinner in NY" captures people having dinner the way they actually have dinner. A twenty-something woman has leftovers on her bed, watching television. A cat begs at the table for pizza. A young mother balances food on her lap while waving a toy at her newborn. A teenager eats alone, staring at her laptop. The photos are amazingly intimate portraits of people being themselves, and I can't stop clicking through them. What struck me most was how very many people eat while watching TV or using their laptops. And when I thought about it, I was honestly surprised to realize that I often eat this way too.
As Aikawa writes on her website, "we now do almost 50 percent of our eating while concentrating on something else." Here, I admit, I expected a mini-lecture on how we need to talk to each other more, focus on food and family more. We've heard all this before, and we know it, of course. I loved that Aikawa instead writes, "I would like to propose thinking what a dinner should be by objectively seeing diverse dinner situations. When you enjoy mealtimes, you're more likely to eat better. Let's think what we can do to enhance the pleasure of the table." Here's a dinnertime message we can all use: not a finger-wagging, but a call to action. She's not saying any one way of eating is better than any other, just that we should enjoy our mealtimes. Some of these distracted eaters seem a little zoned-out, but some (a smiling group of friends eating and watching television together) seem to be having a really wonderful time. And in the end, isn't that what a shared meal is all about?
Check out all of Aikawa's wonderful portraits at her site. (via TheKitchn)
What your family wants you to know about your cooking.
Make one night a week family night.
Classic dinner recipes in 35 minutes or less.
All of which would horrify a true home economist, a housewife (as stay-at-home moms were called back when we were allowed to ignore our kids all day) like Bettina, of the 1917 cookbook A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband.
This cookbook, which is not nearly as titillating as its sensationalist title suggests (unless you have some really creative uses for vinegar sauce and weak coffee) is the subject of Sadie Stein's great essay "Ways and Means" for The Paris Review. A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband, as Stein writes, is filled with vignettes of the fictional Bettina and Bob's married life, complete with recipes perfect for the thrifty wartime bride with a hankering for pimentos. Bettina has great passion for "the word 'economical,' her energy-efficient fireless cooker (a slow cooker of sorts), and the budget notebook that is her preferred topic of dinner-table conversation." She lectures her husband on the price of steak, the joys of buying in bulk.
The book is a hoot as far as retro recipes go. All that white sauce! But, as Stein points out, "the emphasis on modern methods, labor-saving devices, and the science of housekeeping—not to mention that suffragette brunch!—is clearly intended to inspire the young bride not just with confidence but with a sense of the importance of her role." You must read her whole essay, in which Stein discusses her project of cooking every recipe in the book —the results are hilarious. But what strikes me most is how Stein writes, "like any young bride of 1917, I wanted to enter into Bettina’s perfectly ordered existence." She calls the book "a bastion of make-believe order in a scary world."
How appealing! Because this world, it is scary and complicated and messy, in ways that no one can protect her family from, no matter how hard she tries. And personally, I rarely savor a sense of the importance of my role as a "young bride." My resting state is more general befuddlement. So while Bettina's menus and mathematics give me palpitations, I do very much like the idea that I could take control over my home life and better manage household expenses, that the food I prepare for my family could impose a sense of calm, instill some order. Would Bettina allow a toddler to mash $3 worth of Dr. Prager's fishies into a cup of pink milk? I doubt it! If only I, like Bettina, could plan my menu a week at a time, intelligently using leftovers in an organized manner, cheerily reminding my family of how efficiently our little industry could operate. And you know, maybe with the right recipes and a better attitude, I can.
Food That Calms and Comforts
Menu Plans for Cleansing
New Chicken Recipes for Family Dinners
In my mind I am a scrappy urban pioneer who raises chickens on my fire escape and bakes everything from scratch, but I must stress that this is strictly in my own mind. In reality I have a real city-dweller’s squeamishness about food. My meat comes bloodless and entombed in cellophane; I get a little skeeved out when my mushrooms are dirty; I buy my bread pre-sliced whenever possible. I live, like many of us, entirely disconnected from the life cycle of what I eat.
As the Casper Star-Tribune reports, the sourdough starter is older than the rotary dial, airplane and modern assembly line. “Someone first stirred its ingredients together the same year the Eiffel Tower opened and Vincent van Gogh painted ‘Starry Night.’... It’s older than the state of Wyoming.” (I think I have some take-out packets of ketchup that old, but I’m not proud of them.) Anyway, 83-year-old Dumbrill, who inherited the starter from her mother (who could track it back to a 19th-century sheepherder’s wagon), says it’s easy to keep: you just have to put it in a ceramic jar in the fridge and “not be afraid if it doesn’t look good.” (You simply must read the entire article for what she means by that, and why the starter could "make some women squeamish.")
The sourdough starter has become something of a local celebrity, the star of
fundraising pancake dinners and political meet-and-greets. But what I love best
about this story is Dumbrill’s “go with the flow attitude -- “Nothing about
sourdough is absolutely absolute,” she told the Tribune. A little of this, a
little of that, and voila, you have a delicious meal that contains a link to
history, a dash of pioneer woman spirit, and tastes great with whipped cream.
Let me see if I have this right: You start thinking about dinner every morning at 8 am. You decide upon a healthful, tasty meal your whole family loves. After work, you sashay into your local grocers' for fresh ingredients, chatting with the butcher about the right cut of meat, exchanging quips with the green grocer about the kale. Or wait, no—you bike home with a perfect baguette jutting out of your basket. Then follow happy hours of graceful food preparation, glass of wine in hand, and some relaxed dining. Bon appetit!
No? You say that it's more like microwaving chicken nuggets for the kids and then eating their cold leftovers? I can't even imagine. But if I too were a time-crunched cooker who saw food preparation as just another in a long line of household chores, I think I would take heart in Saveur's psyche-saving Recipe Comix.
Every week an artist draws a recipe for the site, and the results are funny, sad, beautiful, and delicious. Cartoonist Laura Park contributes a hilarious comic entitled "Let's Slap in a Pan;" Malaka Gharib's Egyptian breakfast looks bright, cheery, and way better than cereal. There's some great cooking advice here, from the right way to hard-boil an egg to dinner party tips (from woodland creatures, but still). Most of all, though, I appreciated the surge of joy that came from reading through the comics. Oh, right! Cooking can be fun and creative! I'd almost forgotten! This might be just what I needed to escape the chicken nugget rut and get cooking.
Click through all the Recipe Comix at Saveur.
More foodie inspirations:
O's top ten recipes
How to host a poetry dinner party
Eat like an orange-clog-wearing Italian chef
Turns out, we are so wrong. In an Op-Ed in this Sunday’s New York Times, the food writer Mark Bittman (his How to Cook Everything is one of our go-to cookbooks) made a passionate argument against the idea. (Read the article to see how a typical McDonald’s dinner for a family of four quickly adds up, and to see Bittman’s suggestions for two simple, filling meals that cost half as much). He not only makes the case that homemade dinners can be less expensive than food-on-the-run but he also points out how the addictive power of high-fat, salty foods like burgers and fries (and potato chips) can make non-processed "real food" seem less satisfying.
It quickly becomes clear, though, that what fast food does offer is ...speed. Bittman tries to convince us that cooking at home doesn't necessarily mean a ton of extra time, but, as we already know, it does require us to reallocate our time (by driving to the supermarket instead of the drive-thru, for example) and plan ahead.
It's in the planning and the not-forgetting and the sticking-to-best-intentions where we tend to wilt. Fortunately, there are tools that can help us get into the habit:
Ideas for quick, flavorful, no-cook meals
Free menu web sites to help you figure out what to cook
Meal-plan subscription services that send you a shopping list and instructions