A dull knife makes everything a bit harder, and when it comes to mastering that meal a sharp edge really makes all the difference. Here's how to pick a knife that will up your culinary chops immediately.
It's always a special day when a guy moves on from Folgers Crystals and a drip pot and steps up the homemade coffee game. And the truest of brew fans know that the way to get the most
I was talking to my brother yesterday (he's 24), and he said something that struck me: "I don't like cooking." Why cook, he said, when you can go out and buy something better for $10?
Oh brother. If you are a 24-year-old male without an older brother, let me fill in for a moment, as your older, wiser, sibling, with three supremely important words of advice: learn to cook.
I love cooking. It's the perfect combination of right and left-brainedness (that's a word, right?). When you cook, you have to follow directions carefully, measure things meticulously, and then throw it all out the window and problem-solve creatively when you run out
Last weekend I grilled in a public park for a friend's birthday and my buddy remembered all of the necessary ingredients... except for the grill. Someone dashed out to pick up a cheap grill from Target ($16!) and I began scouring the internet for cool ways to good meat on a cheap grill. And that's how I learned about the Snake Method...
Here's all the info you'd ever want about different meat cuts, what part of the cow they come from, and how to cook them -- all compiled into one massive infographic. Never again find yourself standing in the butcher section stalling as you realize you don't really know exactly which cut is best for whatever you're hoping to prepare.
You've heard the worn-out phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread." But, really, this overused comment only highlights a deeper observation: why sliced bread is such a great invention in the first place.
It is, of course, because sliced bread leads to sandwiches. They are, perhaps, Western culture's greatest culinary achievement, named after an aristocratic gambler, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who requested that his valet bring him his meat tucked between two slices of bread so that he could continue to eat while playing cards, without getting his cards greasy or put them down to dine.
Whether that story is true or not, no one can deny the magic of combining baked grains with other food stuffs to create a portable, all-in-one-bite package. Nearly every Western culture has its variation: the pizza, the taco, the flatbread wrap, so one thing's for sure: the combo of a grain-based dough, some meat and veggies, a little sauce, maybe a bit of cheese, is better than simply sliced bread. It's the greatest thing in the world.
In the last few decades, lard has gotten a bad wrap in the U.S. From playground name-calling to the low-fat (and high chemical) diet of the 90s, we became scared of pig fat. We imagined it as a heart attack in a tub, a spoonful of which will immediately clog every artery in your body and you might as well just give up right then and there.
But here's the thing - first off, fresh, naturally rendered pork fat is a completely different product than the whipped, hydrogenated stuff you find in the supermarket. And lard actually contains about half the cholesterol and one-third of the saturated fat of butter. Really.
So, cooking with it once in while will not kill you. What it will do is make all your food taste a lot, a lot better. And
A few years ago, the bacon craze hit the cocktail scene, and we saw everything from bacon fat washes to candied bacon garnishes on sticks to all sorts of meat-y infusions and even full-on strips of protein floating in glasses.
We're okay with that trend dying down a bit, though we can't deny the fact that the smoky sweetness of bacon really does happen to complement the flavors of certain spirits, particularly whisky, quite well. So, instead of taking the bacon flavor to the whisky, let's take the whisky... to... the bacon.
It's the most important meal of the day, and as far as the perfect breakfast, it's hard to beat an egg. If you ask many of the world's greatest chefs what the ultimate mark of someone who knows how to cook, they'll say, "have them make me an egg."
See, on the one hand, eggs are simple: there's the white, there's the yolk, you heat it, and you eat it. But on the other hand, an egg's unique two-part structure means there's a lot going on, and plenty to mess up.
Your kid is sick; your wife has a late meeting; the two-hundred dollars in groceries you bought last weekend was ephemeral. Enter: spaghetti aglio e olio. Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. Sounds almost pointlessly simple, but if you make it right, it's deceptively good. Fast, easy, and you always have the ingredients on hand. Here's how:
ManMade Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- 1 lb. dried spaghetti
- Olive Oil (the better, the better)
- Garlic (fresh if you can; I always keep a jar of minced garlic around just in case)
- Chopped Parsley (optional but makes a noticeable difference)
A properly blowtorched steak is more delectable to the taste buds than it is manly-sounding to the ears. I thought this was a fun gimmick when I first encountered it, but it turns out, blowtorching a steak to perfection is actually not that uncommon. Chefs often do it to thinly sliced steaks after preparing them sous vide, which is wonderful rabbit hole entirely worth travelling down.
Look - I'm not implying I only have fifteen things in my kitchen. I love to cook, to the point that I ask for new tools and gadgets for Christmas and birthday presents. But, I also cook three meals a day at home, and for 90% of them, it's with the same basic handful of utensils and cookware.
I'll admit it. I'm a total sucker for these "make a classic fast food staple at home" techniques. Especially when it's the Egg McMuffin, whose egg, American cheese, Canadian bacon and English Muffin combo sounds great in theory (and a bit like a joke that takes place at UN summit), but never quite comes together on those early road trip mornings when we all inevitably stop because its the only place at the exit.
Every man should have at least one amazing meal he can cook (and probably more like 3-5), and while it actually is possible to screw up spaghetti or pasta, I think it's the best one to master. A good pasta can be paired with a nice salad to begin, a good bread on the side, and great wine to round it out. But if it's going to be a signature starting dish, why not go the extra mile and do it all from scratch?
We recently procured a salt shaker for our dining table. It looks like an owl. My wife likes it. However, it seems that the sea salt we put in it never actually comes out of the little holes. Taking from the kitchen salt cellars you scoop and pinch from as you cook, I thought I'd create a communal cellar to place on your table that's perfect for a party of one or a party of many. No more clogged shakers!
Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.
Artist Ray Cicin had had enough of his designer friends talking smack about the humble ball point pen. So he gathered up all their discarded and leftover pens and set about to create this huge, wall-sized piece.
There's no better way to say it: we're big fans of the Biolite stove technology. We like the wide variety of local, found fuel sources it can accept, and we really love the mission to bring efficient, clean combustion cooking options to homes in developing countries where smoky indoor fires are the norm. And, it can charge your portable electronics while boiling your water or grilling your dinner? Done!
In case you haven't seen the signs, it's fall. That's great news for many reasons, but most importantly it means we now have more reasons to get together and eat great food. Here are five apple-packed desserts to bring those nights of good food to a satisfying close.
Grilling and barbecuing meals is one of modern life's true great privileges. Earlier communities cooked over the open flame out of necessity, but we choose to adds layers of smoke, fire, char, and salt because some foods just deserve it. To light a fire and cook your meal upon it is a ritual of gratitude that honors the ingredients, the technique, and the time it requires to make it work. It is, in every way, an opportunity to make food special again.