• Be A Better Chef With These Simple Cooking Tips

    Be A Better Chef With These Simple Cooking Tips

    There are lots of methods and techniques to learn when cooking. Some are a snap and only take a few minutes, while some are really involved and can take hours. In this guide you will see fast and simple tips you can do to improve your current skill level.

    One of the things that you will need to realize when you are making meats or fish is that you need to spread your seasoning evenly. Adding too much seasoning in one area of your food can reduce the flavor or lead to a tangy taste that will reduce the quality of your meal. If you plan on smoking you met whether for storage or for a dinner. Read electric smoker review to make a right purchase.

    Perfect pasta every time. Never add oil to the water when you are boiling pasta. It prevents the sauce from coating the pasta properly. Just before you drain the pasta, set aside about 1/3 cup of the cooked pasta water. When you mix the sauce with the pasta, add a little of the cooking liquid. The starch in the water adds body and flavor to the sauce. (more…)

  • Coffee Tips For All Your Coffee Needs

    Coffee Tips For All Your Coffee Needs

    Nothing compares to the taste of a cup of 100% Kona Coffee in the morning. Do you appreciate that fabulous odor before you even get out of bed? It just makes you want more. Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about the many options there are for your morning coffee.

    Consider using Stevia instead of sugar in your coffee if you’re watching your weight or suffer from diabetes. Stevia is low in calories and a natural product that does not raise glucose levels. You can find it at grocery or health food shops.

    When consumed properly, coffee can be a healthy part of a mixed diet. The coffee is not unhealthy in itself, but it is the sugar and cream that get added to it. To make it healthier, try using almond milk, honey, or stevia instead of your normal coffee additions.

    Don’t grind whole coffee beans until you’re about to brew your coffee. The coffee begins to lose flavor immediately upon grinding. If you grind your beans early, your coffee will not taste as good. (more…)

  • Tips For Peeling And Preparing Different Fruits

    Tips For Peeling And Preparing Different Fruits

    Learning how to cook requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to eat the batches that aren’t quite ready for prime time. Learning new techniques for cooking is a life-long learning experience and your education begins here. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you on your way to cooking success.

    Ensure that you properly maintain your cooking utensils on a regular basis. A chef’s knife, for example, is of no use to you when blunt so ensure that these are sharpened on a regular basis. When purchasing a chef’s knife look for one with a long and wide blade as induction cooktop reviews, for the best quality and prices.

    You should not boil pasta in water that has oil in it. When you add oil to the water that you are boiling your pasta in it keeps the sauce from sticking to the pasta. By leaving the oil out you can toss your pasta in the sauce and it will cling to it. (more…)

  • Spice Up Your Cooking With These Great Tips

    Spice Up Your Cooking With These Great Tips

    A lot of people consider cooking to be tedious. Here is a compilation of tips and suggestions that can help make cooking enjoyable for you.

    If you have not yet cooked with skewers you should definitely consider this fact. Metal skewers will work better if they are twisted or squared. You can also attend cooking classes.

    Your spices and herbs should always be stored in a cool and dark place. Exposure to humidity, light and heat all affect the flavor of your spices. You can plan on ground herbs and spices retaining their potency for a year. Whole spices typically last longer than ground spices. Depending on the advice you’re reading, they can last from one to several years. In terms of lasting, remember it is the flavor of the spices that is usually the issue with the older spices losing their flavor. The color, fragrance and condition of the spice will often indicate its freshness. If you store them correctly, they will stay fresh for an even longer period of time.

  • Find Your Hidden Talent In The Kitchen With These Tips

    Find Your Hidden Talent In The Kitchen With These Tips

    Do you ever wonder how people make such fabulous meals? The information in the following article can turn anyone into a skilled chef.

    When you shelve an herb or a spice, make sure it’s dark and cool. Their flavors suffer when they are exposed to heat, light, and humidity. A lot of the time, you can expect an herb or a space to retain flavor for about a year like a Barbecue Sauce. Whole spices can retain flavor for about three or five years. Storing your spices properly can help you achieve a longer shelf-life for your spices.

    If you are preparing stir-fry, be sure to slice the meat on the bias and very thin. However, this can take a lot of time while also being very tricky. Take the meat out of the freezer when it is slightly frozen and cut at a forty five degree angle, do it across the meat’s grain.

    Eat a piece of meat when experimenting with seasoning before cooking all of it. Meats like meatballs, hamburgers or meatloaf can be easily under or over seasoned. You do not want to try cooking the whole thing right from the get go. Cook a small piece of it first. This is a good way to find out if you got the seasoning right. (more…)

  • Nespresso – A Look at the Top Features of the Product

    Nespresso – A Look at the Top Features of the Product

    Many people are discovering the exquisite taste and aroma that Nespresso capsules offer. Primarily, there are 16 grand cry capsules by Nespresso, and these contain pure coffee that is sourced from the best of the world’s renowned coffee production. Thus, you can be certain that these capsules do not contain any additives or artificial components that will affect the taste and overall quality of the coffee. In fact, the consistency of coffee in each cup is perfect with an exquisite creamy goodness. These remarkable qualities are the result of the finest ingredients used in each capsule. Moreover, the company ensures that the entire production process of these capsules adhere to the strict standards to maintain the excellent taste of these products.

    About the Capsules

    The Nespresso capsules are among the best in the market because of the choicest ingredients and intricate process that these products undergo. In fact, it is the unique interaction of the one-of-a-kind Nespresso aluminium capsule and the Nespresso machine that makes the product truly special. In addition, the coffee used by the company are sourced from nine countries that are famous for their great-tasting coffee such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, India, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Kenya. On the other hand, the coffee capsules used are produced in Switzerland, particularly in the Nespresso Production Centers in Avenches and Orbe. Using coupons for Nespresso pods you can save your money. You may find HiLine coffee reviews on

    Nespresso only looks for the finest coffee beans with a distinct taste and remarkable aromatic features, which are necessary to create the superb Grand Cru blends. After selecting the right ingredients, each coffee flavor is evaluated by checking the taste to make sure that the company’s strict quality standards and aroma profiles are met.

    Furthermore, Nespresso is dedicate to providing all customers the finest and best-tasting gourmet coffees that will meet their expectations. In fact, only the top 1 to 2 percent of the world’s coffee crop meets the company’s specific criteria for taste and aroma. Thus, the company’s green coffee experts and supply partners make sure that the highest standards are met by seeking out these exquisite coffees cultivated in several farming communities in the world’s top coffee-producing locations. These areas are mainly remote regions, where the right combination of climate, rich soil and altitude produce the distinctive aromas and flavors of each Nespresso Grand Crus. (more…)

  • Persimmon tart

    Persimmon tart

    Persimmon tart

    This is the week you have to stop denying autumn is over. Wrapped up in a new wool coat, you ride your bike in the frosty morning, snow-dusted mountains on the horizon, burrowing your chin deeper in your scarf. The leaves have fallen. Your scary fume-spewing kerosene heater is out.

    But it’s okay. This autumn was a good one. Especially that persimmon tart.

    Kaki (persimmon)

    Kaki flood the markets in autumn, especially in this part of Japan, which is famous for its persimmons. (It’s even rumored that perhaps the name of my town, Ogaki, once meant “big persimmon.” Which I think is far cooler than the present meaning: “big gate.” Boooring.) The kaki sold raw is almost exclusively amagaki, the rounder, more flat fruit which are eaten while they are still firm; in the U.S., they are often labeled as “Fuyu persimmons.” The longer, more pointed kaki, shibugaki — which are terribly astringent until they soften completely — are typically dried and sold later in winter, especially around New Year’s. The best part about this kaki glut is that it makes it possible to buy one persimmon for less than 100 yen (about $1), something you can’t say for apples. Thus, when the tart-baking urge struck, it was kaki I reached for.

    A simple tart, it is nothing more than thinly-sliced fruit, sugar, butter and a sprinkling of spices in a basic crust. When baked, the persimmon pieces soften and meld together to become, after cooling, something gently chewy, kind of like a Japanese yōkan or a very soft Fruit Roll-Up. With some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, it will be so good you might, like me, be forced to make another one a few days later. Or, if the amagaki season has already ended, daydream about it through at least a couple cold bicycle commutes.

    Kaki no taruto (Persimmon tart)

    Makes 6-8 servingsFor dough:
    1 stick (115 g) cold unsalted butter
    1 1/4 cups (155 g) all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

    For filling:
    3 persimmons, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/8-inch thick
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ginger
    1/2 stick (55 g) cold butter, sliced thin

    Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream

    Make dough: Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips until most of mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest lumps about pea-sized. Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water evenly over and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.

    When you squeeze a small handful of the dough, it should hold together without crumbling. If it doesn’t, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until incorporated (keep testing). Don’t overwork the mixture or add too much water, or your dough will be tough.

    Form dough: Divide the dough into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once across your work surface in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together with a pastry scraper and form it into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

    When you are ready to assemble the tart, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface roll out dough into a 13-inch round and fit it into a 10-inch tart tin, trimming the excess. Arrange the persimmon slices decoratively on the pastry shell, overlapping them. Mix the nutmeg and ginger with the sugar and sprinkle on top of the fruit. Top with butter slices and bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden and the persimmon slices are lightly browned. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

  • Maple-bacon cinnamon rolls

    Maple-bacon cinnamon rolls

    Maple-bacon cinnamon rolls

    During this time of economic uncertainty, I believe bacon can make things better. Think about it: just a little bit goes a long way, flavoring a whole pot of beans or plate of braised greens with its smoky meatiness. Leftover bacon grease — an unappealing term, let’s say bacon drippings, much better — can be saved and used instead of oil, adding a savory something-something to an otherwise straightforward mirepoix. “Bacon makes anything better” may well be the mantra of this terrifying (and exciting — Obama!) time, whispered like a prayer over the chocolate-covered bacon slices, bacon-wrapped meats, even bacon ice cream being eaten around the country.

    Cinnamon rolls, ready to roll

    And so I offer my contribution to the nation’s altar of bacon: maple-bacon cinnamon rolls. Soft and yeasty, with the occasional salty-smoke hit of bacon, they were inspired by this bacon doughnut recipe I spotted. I wanted maple-bacon breakfast goodness, but didn’t want to deal with large amounts of oil bubbling on the stove, so the idea for this cinnamon roll was born, using Molly’s Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze as a starting point. As an added plus, the fact that these are baked instead of fried makes you forget the thick layer of butter and sugar rolled up inside. Compared to a doughnut they seem almost…virtuous.

    Cinnamon rolls, going into the oven

    Okay, I know. Nothing with bacon ever seems virtuous. But, you know, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I myself won’t be casting any stones — with a maple-bacon cinnamon roll in each hand, it’s just not possible.

    Maple-Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

    Makes 18 rolls

    1 cup whole milk
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 large egg
    2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
    1 teaspoon salt

    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

    1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
    4 slices cooked bacon, chopped

    Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over a low flame until mixture is just warmed to 120-130 degrees F. (Or put them in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.) Pour into a large bowl (or stand mixer). Add 1 cup flour, sugar, eggs, yeast and salt. Beat with the mixer or by hand for 3 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pull away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly flour work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

    Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. While it rises, mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

    Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at one long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide).

    Butter two 9-inch square glass baking dishes. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap and let dough rise until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

    Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn right side up.

    Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Drizzle glaze over rolls and immediately sprinkle with chopped bacon. Serve warm. Realize you should eat more bacon.

  • Cookie mania

    Cookie mania

    World Peace Cookies
    The wondrous World Peace Cookies.

    Last weekend Rob and I hosted a holiday cookie party, a celebration of sugar and the season, with lots of mulled wine and brandy-spiked cider and people groaning, “I can’t eat any more…” while shoving just one more cookie in their mouths. Success!

    Neapolitan cookies, before slicing
    Neapolitan Cookies, before slicing.

    I made three cookies: Martha Stewart’s striped Neapolitan Cookies, Dorie Greenspan’s incredible double chocolate World Peace Cookies and my own Gingerbread Bites. The gingerbread dough — dark with molasses, spiked with black pepper — is based on a reliable recipe I found years ago. I used it to make the standard gingerbread men the first year, but a chubby, oddly shaped man made from the cut-out scraps convinced me that thick cookies were the way to go (I was convinced after eating him, I mean, not that he actually sat me down and talked me into it) and I devised a new baking method. Instead of rolling the dough flat and cutting out cookies, I form fat little balls of dough and dip them in sanding sugar. They bake up moist and cakey with a compelling sugary crunch and are small and addictive enough to eat in multiples.

    Preferably with other people around. If there’s one thing I learned this weekend, it’s that binge cookie-eating, like drinking, is much more socially acceptable if done in a group. Just don’t try to operate any heavy machinery for a couple hours.

    Gingerbread cookie

    Gingerbread Bites

    Makes about 4 dozen 1-inch cookies

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
    1 large egg
    Raw washed sugar or other coarse sugar

    Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a bowl and set aside.

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the butter and shortening until smooth and well-combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy and light-colored, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg. With a spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. (The dough can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover the bottom of a shallow dish with the coarse sugar. Working with one disk at a time, break off a small piece of dough and roll between your palms to form a ball about 3/4″ across. Flatten the ball slightly and dip the top in the sugar. Continue with the remaining dough, placing the cookies about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are firm. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Can be stored for up to one week in an airtight container.

  • Shin-shōga (young ginger)

    Shin-shōga (young ginger)

    New ginger

    It’s early April, the sakura are in full bloom, and spring is in the air. Except that it’s raining right now and an icy wind is blowing all the blossoms off the trees. Oh well, at least I have my shin-shōga. Shōga is your average piece of ginger, brown-skinned and sharp, and shin-shōga is its younger, springtime version, pale, thin-skinned and mild. It’s this ginger, sliced and pickled, that is mounded up next to the green plastic leaf in your box of lunchtime sushi.

    But pickles are only the beginning for shin-shōga. Because it has the fresh astringency of ginger without the bite, you can use it raw, and it is especially tasty when julienned and added to salads. When cooked, it loses its bright crunch, but the delicate fragrance wafting up from any dish you’ve added it to makes up for it. With soups and rice, you can toss in the shin-shōga right at the end of cooking and let it soften a bit in the residual heat. That’s what I do when making this early-spring rice, a mix of young ginger, fresh crab and thin green onions.


    Some notes about ingredients: Young ginger is a popular ingredient in other Asian cuisines, so you should be able to find it at Asian supermarkets from spring through early summer. I buy my cooked crab meat in the sashimi section of my local grocery store, where I sometimes want to cry when I see how beautiful and cheap everything is. Imitation crab meat is not a suitable substitute. Finally, the green onions in Japan are typically much thinner than in the U.S., about half the diameter; look for the thinnest you can find or just use one thick one.

    Crab and ginger rice

    Kani to shin-shōga gohan (Crab and young ginger rice)

    Makes 2 servings

    1 cup Japanese rice, washed and drained
    2-inch (5-cm) piece of young ginger
    3.5 oz (100 g) cooked crab meat
    2 thin green onions

    Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop as usual. (See the directions for cooking Japanese rice here.) When the rice is almost cooked, peel the ginger, cut in half crosswise, and julienne. Thinly slice the green onion. When the rice is cooked, add the ginger, crab and green onion to the cooker or pot and stir to mix everything in. For best flavor, serve immediately.

  • Black sticky rice pudding

    Black sticky rice pudding

    Black rice pudding with coconut

    Some smells are just magical: coffee brewing in the morning, the soft folds of a baby’s neck, orange blossoms through an open car window on a warm night. Hot sticky rice mixed with coconut milk is one of those for me. It’s not like we even have that long a history, considering my childhood disgust with the coconut-laced desserts my dad used to stock up on whenever we would take a family trip to Bangkok Market in Hollywood. I could not see the appeal of not-very-sweet squares of coconut jelly, soupy tapiocas, gray disks of griddled shredded coconut. Pass the Oreos, please.

    But I grew up, ate my first plate of mango and sticky rice at Noodle Planet one summer and realized my dad was on to something. I thought for a long time it was the mango-sticky rice synergy that made the dish so good, but during my last trip to Thailand, after stuffing my face with a mountain of little banana-leaf-wrapped packets of coconut-milk-infused sticky rice, I realized it was the rice and coconut all along. Hot rice, warm coconut milk, that edge of salt — addictive.

    Black sweet rice

    I’d bought a 5-lb bag of black sticky rice at LAX-C months ago, mostly because the grains were too beautiful and intriguing to resist. Sticky rice is usually soaked overnight and steamed, but I needed a same-day dessert for the dinner my friend Jessica was having that night. So I decided to make khao neow dam piag, black sticky rice pudding. The rice is boiled instead of steamed and mixed with a little coconut milk, sugar and salt toward the end of cooking. The finished pudding is deep purple, the grains soft yet chewy, with that warm, woozy coconut milk scent wafting up from the bowl. It was dessert that night and breakfast for the next two mornings. And since I still have 4.9 pounds of black sticky rice left, it may be my breakfast for the next year. Sounds good to me.

    Black rice

    Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut (Khao neow dam piag)

    Serves 4-6

    1 cup black sweet rice (also called black sticky rice or black glutinous rice)*
    1 cup coconut milk
    1/4-1/2 cup packed brown sugar, to taste
    1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    Sweetened shredded coconut or toasted sesame seeds (for garnish, optional)

    Put rice in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Swish rice around to rinse it and pour off any loose husks that float to the top. Drain rice through a sieve and return to pot. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until rice is soft. Pour off any excess water, so that the water line is just below the grains of rice. Add coconut milk, sugar and salt and simmer, stirring frequently, until pudding is desired consistency. Serve hot or room temperature, topped with coconut or sesame seeds.