To be filed in your "Why didn't I think of that?" pile, two words:
Yes, of course. The smokiness of bacon echoes the campfire without needing hot coals, the salty/sweet combo, the textural contrast of something chewy mixed with melty chocolate, fluffy 'shmallows, and crunchy crackers.
You, saavy internet user, have likely seen all kinds of awesome cakes over the last few years: the architectural, the sculptural, the realistic, the pop culture-inspired... You've seen the TV shows and the competitions, and perhaps have even played with fondant and modeling chocolate a bit yourself.
So, if you're
There are few dishes with such a broad quality/identity spectrum as lasagna. Done well, it's an epic experience: layers upon layers of noodles, meat ragu, bechamel, and just the right amount of cheese. Done poorly, it's just some wide pasta with hamburger, Prego, and ricotta. Or worse...frozen, with eighty grams of saturated fat per serving and three days worth of sodium.
Beer = excellent for drinking with food. Right? Yes. Okay...
But, it also had unique properties that lend themselves to many awesome cooking techniques and recipes. It's carbonated brings texture, the bitterness of hops can cut through other strong flavors, and the maltiness is a perfect match for lots of proteins, like beef, cheese, and many beans.
If you're not cooking with beer
Over the last few years, I've become fascinated with fermentation. I love the idea that you can purposefully use little microbes to make food taste awesome, and that many foodstuffs are actually only possible by can actually encouraging bacteria and yeasts to grow in your food.
Nothing represents naturally fermented foods like kimchi, the family of fermented vegetable pickles from Korea. The most familiar is napa cabbage kimchi, or baechu, which is quite easy to make at home using mostly supermarket ingredients and a few Asian specialities. It's loads of fun, requires no canning equipment or special yeasts, and can be made easily in your home kitchen. If you've got a batch of kimchi in the fridge, you've got dinner.
Wanna make some? Let's!
I don't know what it is. Perhaps it's the obvious contrast between a childhood favorite meal and a very adult beverage, or just the pure curiousity of seeing whether a cocktail can not only taste like a savory food, but a complete meal, but I'm gonna do everything I can to make a grilled cheese and tomato soup martini.
If you go to any high-end kitchen shop and general goods discount store, you'll find any number of dedicated popcorn popping devices. Handle-cranked special pans, air poppers, campfire shakers, motorized stirrers, microwave options, and even tiny versions of carnival/movie theater style hopper poppers. (Isn't that fun to say?)
Turns out, their all unnecessary, and a waste of money and storage space. Cause the best way to pop corn at home, avoiding burning and popping every kernel, is likely already in your kitchen.
Fifteen years ago, I first heard about peanut butter cheeseburgers, and I assumed it had to be a joke. I was at a sports bar in my hometown in Iowa that had this vile sounding concoction on the menu and my friends were adamant that I would love it.
So I ordered it, and immediately fell in love. And I've been eating them ever since.
Now whenever I tell people about this delicacy, the reactions I get tend towards the intense. But believe me…peanut butter cheeseburgers are amazing. The sweet, gooey peanut butter compliments the savory burger patty perfectly, and believe it or not, the ketchup and mustard mixed in there makes for a perfectly heavenly bite.
If there is ever a reason to cite the "don't knock it 'til you've tried it" trope, this is the one.
It's not that often that I'm wowed by a TV commercial, but today I am. This ad for Lurpak, a Danish brand of butter (margarine?), is really great. The narrator's voice is a little strange, but I guarantee after watching this you'll be singing "Chop chop chop chopping!"
The stockings are hung, the plums are sugared, and you're well on your way to getting all those gifts wrapped. Now it's time for the real fun to begin, and by "real fun," I mean...cookies.
Of course, "Cookie recipes are just about infinite, because almost anything can be shaped into a circle and baked... But the basic cookie contains three key ingredients: butter, flour and sugar. That combination has not been bettered, and it can be varied in so many ways that, really, it’s the only recipe you need."
"The Ultimate Hamburger," from the Modernist Cuisine project by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, took stock of what most people crave in a burger - a perfectly fluffy and toasty bun, crunchy-but-not-too-crunchy veggies, gooey but flavorful cheese, loads of umami notes from ketchup and other sauces, and the perfect, beef-y patty, and used some serious cooking science to make it a possibility.
Like Bit-O-Honey around Halloween and Peeps on Easter, egg nog is the polarizing treat of the winter holiday season. People that like it like it, but people that hate it...well, hate it.
And for the first twenty-seven years of my life, I was one of 'em. A most hating of haters. Even the smell of egg nog was enough to shrink my Christmas spirits to three sizes too small.
But then I realized:
Buying gifts for food people and home chefs can be a, uh, double-edged fork. On the one hand, there are endless kitchen gadgets and tools our there to play with, but on the other, passionate home cooks are likely to already have lots of the standards.
So, with that in mind, the brilliant food minds of America's Test Kitchen offer this great list of essentials, perfect for stocking gifts, as they all clock in at under $50.
If you've ever had an expertly cooked, dry-aged steak at a restaurant, you can certainly tell the difference between that experience and those you can buy at the grocery store and cook at home. Dry aging removes up to 25% of the water, leaving behind all the flavorful compounds and concentrating the beef-y flavor.
Turns out, you can apply the same that steak houses use, at home, turning your supermarket cut into a thing of wonder.
Originaly, the "shot glass" was a measuring device - a means to figure out a 1.5 oz. serving of a spirit. Nowadays, it's been reduced to a cheesy collectible, or worse, a tacky means of throwing down liquor way faster than necessary.
But that's not the shot glass's fault. Sipping 1.5 oz of a single spirit is a great way to learn about its flavor, aroma, and complexities. Especially if the glass contributes to the experience. So, bring back the shot glass. And, while you're at it, why not make it edible?
Some things seem so wrong that you just need to try them, and I think SpaghettiOs Pizza is one of those things. That's right…SpaghettiOs. So fire up the oven, break out the can opener, and get cookin'.
I've gone on record on ManMade (multiple times...too many to link) about my love of pickling. Not just kosher dills from a jar, but the act of changing the entire experience of fruits and veggies by treating them with salty, acidic solutions. I especially love "quick pickles" and "fridge pickles," which have all the flavor and brightness, but don't require the dance of sterilization and preservation of process canning.
Over the summer, I pickle everything from peaches to beans and peas, and in the fall, pumpkin, apples, and squash. So, during this unique time of year...why not pickle its seasonal signature - the cranberry?
Yeah, the grocery stores and commercials are full of standards for that other upcoming holiday, but this week, if you're not quite ready to jump to sleigh bells and mentions of misteltoe, try rocking out to NPR's "Songs for Stuffing," a collection of jams for Thanksgiving.
As a child, my favorite kid-friendly food was grilled cheese and tomato soup. It was one of the few days I bought lunch at school, and it always hit the spot after a snowball fight, or when at home on a sick day. It was even the first meal I learned to cook, around age nine.
As an adult? My favorite kid-friendly food is grilled cheese and tomato soup. Kids today can keep their chicken fingers and mac and cheese triangles, I'll stick with this combo of classic flavors.