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Cooking (65 posts)
What would it take to change your life for the better? It may be less than you think—we’ve got mini-makeovers to help you upgrade everything from your workout to your weekend. #23: Yes, your iPad can be in the kitchen while you're cooking your messiest recipes.
Tired of gunking up your iPad screen with tomato sauce while trying to follow a recipe for spaghetti Bolognese? The Chef Sleeve is the splatterproof, smearproof, and smudgeproof answer: The thin, food-safe film encases your tablet but doesn't interfere with touchscreen functions. Reusable (but also recyclable when they get too gross), the sleeves are sold in packaging that doubles as a convenient countertop iPad stand. (chefsleeve.com)
30 days of makeovers
Bolognese sauce recipe
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Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Relax at your Labor Day barbecue. How to cook for the masses without stress (using the secrets of cruise ship chefs) and how to grill the world's easiest and most perfect main dish (hint: it uses only two ingredients).
Celebrate the other holiday that takes place on September 5th—also known as Be Late Day. How to let yourself be tardy and stop the crazy anxiety that comes from watching the clock.
Invested a little more than you want to in a iPhone or one of the new tablets? How to expedite the return of your portable electronics—easily, cheaply and greenly—in case they get lost.
Have fun (really) getting your kids ready for school. How to whip up a goofy but practical lunch-money change purse out of a child's sock whose match was (once again) eaten by the dryer.
I'm happy to eat birthday cake at other people's parties. But when it's my big day, I'll take pie—one part flaky crust, one part sweet, jammy fruit—every time. I celebrated my last birthday by making an attractively lumpy, left-leaning strawberry-rhubarb pie. I didn't care what it looked like—it tasted like pure summer.
And yet many otherwise confident cooks find pie baking a daunting proposition. "People get all nervous when it comes to pie, thinking everything has to be perfect," says Emily Luchetti, author of The Fearless Baker and the executive pastry chef at San Francisco's Waterbar and Farallon, who developed the versatile and forgiving recipes here. "But even if your crust has some cracks and the juices run out, it's still going to be good. Just serve it in a bowl with some ice cream. I mean, it's pie!"
When's the last time you really thought about the experience of cooking? Not the sensations you feel when you warm up leftovers or pour cereal into a bowl, but what it actually feels like to crack an egg open or pat strawberries dry? Chris Kimball, founder and editor of Cook's Illustrated, made me consider the physical act of preparing a meal recently, in an editorial in the July/August issue of his magazine. The essay, "Zero Degrees of Separation," isn't available online, unfortunately, but it reads, in part, "we cook... to remind ourselves that we are alive, because we want to run our fingers across a silky side of salmon or grab hold of a bloody point-cut of brisket." Me? I love the tactile pleasure of shucking corn; mixing ground meat with eggs, cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs with my bare hands for meatballs; and pulling open the oven door, giving a pan of smashed potatoes a stir and feeling a blast of heat mixed with the scent of roasted garlic and rosemary.
So...why do you cook? And what's your favorite sensation from cooking?
When Congress decided to ban the energy-sapping bulb, though, Hasbro engineers were faced with a challenge. But kitchen-minded kids (and their parents) can relax: The oven isn't going the way of the Atari 2600. It's evolving--something that's actually very much in the spirit of the Easy-Bake, which has spawned a gourmet Easy-Bake cookbook with recipes from famous chefs, recipes sites that include such creations as Wild Mushroom Flan, and even a PC that let you cook pancakes at your desk (okay, that one isn't real, but wouldn't it be fantastic?).
The latest incarnation of the Easy-Bake, which goes on sale this fall, has a fancy internal heating element instead of a light bulb, and doors on the left and right sides instead of in front. Such innovations--plus a larger cooking chamber and baking pan--blow the menu of baking options wide open to include cookies, red velvet cupcakes, pizza, pretzels, cinnamon twists and brownie sticks.
As much as I love the idea of an almost 50-year-old toy getting a modern makeover (and we're nothing if not fans of constant evolution), I think Michelle Paolino, VP of global brand strategy and marketing for Hasbro Girls Brands, put it best. She has strong ties to the Easy-Bake, having played with one as a kid in the early '80s, and she was excited work on the update: "A lot has changed," she says, "but that feeling of creation is still really relevant today."
When In Doubt, Bake
7 Decadent, Retro Desserts
Common Baking Pitfalls
Sauteed lettuce. This is part of a ramen-crusted skate recipe, but I'd skip the fish (leave dredging skate in instant-ramen breadcrumbs to Chang) and go straight to the vegetable: Add a head or two of iceberg or butter lettuce, torn, to a skillet that's already sizzling with a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and a "nice big knob of butter." Toss in a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the lettuce is wilted but not completely slack, one or two minutes. Chang gives bonus points if you season it with a dash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon.
A crucial element to savory tomato pies is cheese: Art Smith's Tomato Pie uses grated cheddar or Pepper Jack and Parmesan, the perfect foil for yellow and red baby pear tomatoes. Bon Appetit's Tomato and Cheddar Pie is heavy on the extra-sharp cheddar, plus some Parmesan too. And Williams-Sonoma's Savory Skillet Pie gets some kick from the one-two punch of cheddar and bacon.
Why should sweet pies get all the love this summer?
The pie Oprah can't stop raving about
Beefsteak Tomato Tart with Asiago Cheese and Thyme
Stefan Gates, author of The Extraordinary Cookbook: How to Make Meals Your Friends Will Never Forget, is something of a pro at playing with food--he throws sushi-rolling parties, serves polenta right on the table (no dishes to do) and frosts his margarita glasses with Pop Rocks. He knew that the dishwasher's heat--between 130 and 150 degrees on most models--is enough to poach salmon and gently infuse it with the flavors of aromatic herbs. To make salmon, asparagus, noodles and mixed vegetable parcels, Gates keeps everything wrapped tightly in foil, skips the detergent and runs the dishwasher on the highest and hottest cycle (choose the "pots and pans" option). And he promises nothing tastes like soap. Get the recipe here.
5 Confounding Kitchen Appliances (and How to Use Them)
Ginger Salmon Recipe
The Way to Eat: Diet Tweaks That Make a Difference