We believe in investing in long-lasting, high-quality kitchen gear; things worth saving up for, that you know will stand up to daily use. Opting for a legit forged steel chef's knife, say... one that can be sharpened and honed over and over and will last you the rest of your life, and then some.
But, investment pieces are just that: investments. Those things cost money, and they're well worth it. But thankfully, you can fill in the gaps with a selection of totally affordable and super useful kitchen tools, many of which cost less than a lunch at a local bistro. So with that in mind, here's our list of inexpensive, high-quality, and crazy versatile culinary tools with which you should be stocking your kitchen, all of which come in at less than twenty-five bucks.
Is baking making? What category of craftsmanship does it really fall into, after all? I think the answers to these questions are, yes, and I don't care. Since I spend way too much of my everyday life sitting in front of a computer, moving invisible bytes around, baking is one of the easiest, fastest ways for me to get my hands dirty when I get home from work.
It's magical; actually. You take this stuff (usually wheat flour) that, by itself is bland and horrible and inedible, and you mix it with a little water, a little salt, and some heat, and suddenly you can achieve a ridiculous variety of breads. By tweaking the ratios just a bit, you
The burger is usually thought of as summer fare — the progeny of some spatula-wielding self-appointed grill master. But true burger fans know that the very best are not cooked over grill grates, but on screaming hot solid surfaces, where the rendering fat and juices stay near the patty, creating not only a crispy exterior, but the deep, caramelized, confit-like richness that defines the flavor of a great burger.
Which means, of course, that burgers are actually year-round food, and armed with a heavy cast iron skillet or griddle, a great way to spend an dark, cold evening stuck inside. If we're gonna have January, than let us always have burgers.
Making a delicious and hearty breakfast can be a chore when you're still trying to decide which pants to wear with your cap-toe shoes. Until recently, this was my daily struggle. Most days, I walked out the door with just brewed coffee and a piece of toast. No fun.
You know the basics. The onions and carrots. The potatoes, rice and noodles. The salt and pepper. The goods that can help accompany fresh proteins and vegetables into a proper meal. But today, we're talking those "secret ingredients" — those back-of-the-lazy susan bottles and powders that improve anything they come in contact with, and take food from being simply filling to truly satisfying. Keep them on hand, understand and respect their powers, and you can use them to blow any dish out of the water.
I'm a big fan of a glass of DIY fire cider to help keep your system in prime fighting condition during the winter months. It's the single best way to keep your immunity up as best can be. (We love you, too, flu shot!)
But, still, sometimes you get sick. And you feel terrible. And all the OTC bottles in your medicine cabinet just don't seem to be doing anything.
Often, when I try to explain the idea behind ManMade or what I do for a living, someone who doesn't quite get it will inevitably say to me, "You mean like MacGyver?" Um...I guess?
For the record, I don't think making stuff out of ordinary materials – what we do on ManMade – is anything like MacGyver. But I do like the approach of understanding how things work, and then applying standard techniques to whatever materials sit in front of you. Especially when those materials are bottles of spirits, and the techniques result in something like delicious cocktails.
'Cause here's the thing: when you become known amongst your peers as a guy who knows something about tasty cocktails, you become the guy who everyone turns to to make a tasty cocktail, whatever the occasion. And that's a good thing. It's a solid skill to have, and it's even more impressive if you don't have to look a recipe up on your phone before you start shaking and stirring.
So, with that in mind, here are seven standard recipes, ratios, and approaches to cocktail making that you can tuck in the back of your mind to whip up a tasty option, whatever you find in front of you. (Oh, and if you need bottle recommendations, here are our picks for stocking your home bar without spending a ton of money.)
This week they're predicting record-breaking winter storms in my area which means, aside from braving my drive to and from work, I'll be stuck inside. So, instead of heading to the grocery store for bread and milk I'm headed to the hardware store to get some supplies to keep myself busy under the snowpack.
In the summer, it's easy to get those deep, blackened and charred flavors in your weeknight meals. During grill season, you simply head outside, and cook your meal over an open flame.
And then comes January, where the produce is poor, and everything lacks that certain zing that the warm sun and fire-seared foods provide.
I have gone on record, in this publication and elsewhere, about why the hot toddy is the perfect cocktail to be sipping in December. It's warm. It's spiced. And at least according to folk wisdom, it's good for your health, and can help to heal a nasty wintertime sore throat. But, to be honest, until last Tuesday evening, I didn't actually like a hot toddy.
They were fine, but not delicious, and not really an improvement over a simple glass of neat whiskey. (You could make a hot toddy with rum, brandy, or tequila, but why would you?)
Hot toddys (toddies?) always disappointed: never quite hot enough to truly enjoy, and somewhat ... harsh. There was something I never liked about adding acidic lemon juice to a healthy glug of bourbon, then heating the whole thing up. It seemed to bring out all the rough, grain-y flavors, and hide the tastier warm and spicy barrel-aged notes that make whiskey, well, whiskey.
I love s'mores. I hate getting sticky.* Which I mention only to point out how much I truly love s'mores since they nearly always get your hands/face/everything sticky. It's the perfect smoky and sweet desert to finish off any night's worth of camping and hiking or simply sitting around the campfire with friends. But here's a suggestion that takes the s'mores game to a whole new level...
Looking for a warm drink that will give you energy without the jitters? You need to try this brewed South American tea.
For years, coffee has been my go-to AM brew, and I've been dedicated to grabbing a cuppa joe to get me through the morning. Sure, I mix it up with an espresso drink every now and then, but for the most part it's a few milligrams of caffeine that powers me through the mid-morning slump.
Baking bread is one of those hard to qualify skills if you're looking at it from the outside with no real experience. On the one hand, people have been doing it for thousands of years in all sorts of climates with all sorts of varying available ingredients. On the other hand, it seems like a hard science that requires potentially its own baking contraption and yeast (who has baking yeast lying around?), meaning another trip to the grocery store. But here's the thing: it's not really that hard...
Friends, it's time to step up your home cocktail game. But it's not about procuring a special bottle of small batch spirits, or some crafty house-made infusion, or even an obscure, esoteric bitter liqueur made by monks in the mountains of Europe. In fact, it's not about the ingredients of the drink at all. It's about texture.
Carbonating cocktails adds effervescence, tingling the tongue and bringing out new flavors and drinking experiences. Club soda is traditional, and it works, but waters down the drink, and often just floats on top, never fully integrating with the heavier alcohol.
When we were young men, we turned to boxed pasta and jarred sauce as a crutch. It was cheap, it was filling, it was hard to screw up, and, it was good enough.
But it's time to liberate pasta from the fallback of the less mature. To take back covering the starch in piles of flavors that cover its lackluster...uh, ness. In Italy, pasta courses are about the noodle, not the sauce. In fact, they refer to whatever get's mixed into the pasta as "a condiment" - just a little some extra to highlight the excellence of what's already there.
Done right, a good pasta dish doesn't need to be drowning in sauce. Done right - pasta stands on its
Look, we love a solid cocktail bar. It's an awesome experience to meet up with some co-workers for happy hour, or connect with a friend or date over something shaken or stirred and served in a quality glass. But there's something to be said for sipping at home. Most importantly, it's much less expensive. Bar and restaurants try to keep their food and liquor costs to 20-25%, which means that $12 martini is actually made up of only $3.00 of ingredients. But we also can't argue with the value of staying home, whipping something up for your partner or friends on the fly in the warm, quite confines of your own living room. (Pajama pants optional).
And while we have no problem dropping some serious change on a truly elegant whiskey or craft spirit, the truth is: most mixed drinks don't actually require the highest end of spirits. So, if you're looking to experiment with crafting your own drinks, but don't want to invest mega bucks in a full fleet of top-shelf spirits, it's time to learn how to stock your home bar or bar cart on a budget.
You know those little pumpkins you practically trip over in the supermarket this time of year? It turns out: they're good for more than just Instagram props. With, like, no work, they make a really tasty pumpkin butter you’ll want to have in the fridge all year long. I’m talking about pumpkin butter with the magical spice flavor of pumpkin pie, but simple, less sweet and much more, well, pumpkin-y.
I did not grow up in a "crock pot" family. We had one, an old avocado green job my parents got from their wedding registry. And, though I'm sure it got used, it wasn't something that characterized the food in our house. My wife's parents, on the other hand, were both doctors working day shifts, and according to her, nearly every thing her mom cooked came from the slow cooker. And, says my wife, protein + a mix of canned foods = dinners, all which tasted basically the same... like "crock pot food."
Need another drink to warm you up like you're sitting by a campfire, but you're actually stuck inside cause it's freaking freezing out? Check out ManMade's very own rosemary and smoke infused cocktail!
Fall means many things: the return of wearing layers, trees a-changin', and that tenuous day when you have to make the decision to finally turn the furnace back on. But for me, it's not fall unless I'm getting away to spend weekends in the woods.
Not the ultra-light, no-other-human-around treks of summer, but some honest to goodness, old fashioned camping trip. I'm talking cast iron skillets, flannel shirts and wool blankets, ice-filled Coleman coolers, and all-night campfires.
And while I love the day hikes and card games and guitar-strumming, my no doubt favorite part of car camping is: