My daily breakfast of yogurt and granola is (almost) as important to me as my morning coffee. Baking up a batch every couple of weeks is another nice ritual. It's really easy, and unlike the store-bought alternative, you can create exactly the balance of fruit, nuts, grains, sweetness, and richness you want. This slideshow will show you the basics of granola-making, with some ideas for a classic version, as well as a more decadent closer-to-candy recipe (with chocolate chips!) and a savory twist with fennel seeds.
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Roasting peppers is much like toasting marshmallows over a campfire, and almost as fun. The best part is when you see the difference between what you can make and what you'd find in a store-bought jar of peppers. This slideshow will walk you through the charring, peeling, and storing process.
Is there a right way to clean fresh mushrooms? Some would say never get a mushroom wet. Others insist it's no big deal. In my experience, the answer is "it depends on the mushroom." This slideshow will provide you with a mushroom-cleaning guideline and some storage and trimming tips.
Risotto-making requires you to stand at the stove and do nothing except tend to the rice for about 20 minutes. On the face of it, that could sound like a drag. But, like me, you might find it a "Calgon, take me away" kind of escape. The hot steam and the stirring, ladling, and more stirring transport me into a much-needed culinary meditation that results in a delicious meal.
I've recovered from early pie-making traumas to make crusts that are both flaky and tender. For me, the key was in the technique—working quickly with cold ingredients, keeping some of the fat in little solid chunks, giving the dough a good rest in the fridge, and handling the dough gently. Maybe it sounds like a long list of things to keep in mind, but I promise it's not complicated. Check out the step-by-step slideshow so you can become a crust-making pro too.
Basil pesto is pretty darn delicious, but why limit yourself to just fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, and olive oil? Other herbs and nuts can be added to make subtly different variations. Or, you can lose the traditional combination entirely and use the technique to make something completely different. Take a look at this slideshow to see how.
Is your ice cream turning out less than silky smooth? Your pudding looking curdled? And your spaghetti carbonara—is it a bit lumpy? Your problem might be in the tempering. Mine was.
The vanilla ice cream recipe in Thomas Keller's Bouchon was the jumping off point for this recipe. I loved the ultra-rich, dense, and creamy results and adapted it to make my favorite ice cream flavor: honey.
The 'secret ingredient' makes this spice cake distinctive and softly aromatic, but may be difficult for guests to place when they try it.
There's nothing like a pat of butter melting away on top of something you're about to sink your teeth into. And when you add a few flavorful ingredients to it, you've got compound butter. Making compound butter is an easy and practical way of layering on buttery goodness along with fresh herbs, aromatic spices, a little kick, or a hint of sweetness.
Baking in salt involves burying food in a sand-like mixture of salt and egg white. The salt insulates the food, cooking it gently and evenly. When the dish comes out of the oven, you crack open the hardened, golden salt shell to unearth a moist, evenly cooked and fragrant buried treasure.
Fresh pasta is made from a few simple ingredients, using a straightforward method. But getting it just right requires some coaching, a lot of practice, and a few good tips. This primer from expert pasta-making chef Anna Klinger of Al Di La in Brooklyn can help get you started or put you back on track, and inspire you to make this recipe for casunsiei (beet and ricotta ravioli).
"Standard Breading Procedure," perhaps the dullest-sounding term in cooking, turns out crispy, evenly browned crust that stays on your food rather than falling off into the pan. And the meat that is insulated within is moist and tender.
If you approach the task of trimming an artichoke as if you're delicately pulling at rose petals, yes, it will take a while. But instead, I imagine myself as the owl from the old Tootsie Roll Pop commercials: how many licks does it take to get to the center? A one, a two, a three, chomp. This slideshow will explain two artichoke-trimming techniques: one for whole artichokes, the other for the hearts.
After a week of cooking almost exclusively en papillote, I've found there's a lot to like about foods wrapped like little presents. Veggies, meat, fish, or whatever else you decide to stuff into the little package, comes out aromatic, tender, and flavorful— not at all the1980s-style health food you may be picturing.
There's nothing like the smell of aromatic vegetables sweating away on the stove. It's a great first step in preparing soups, sauces, stews, and braises and is so easy to do. The technique uses a gentle heat to soften veggies to gently draw out their flavors. Learn how, step by step.
For such a humble ingredient, beans can be polarizing. There are Soakers and Non-Soakers; those who prefer the oven, and those who go for the stove. But the best beans are flavorful, evenly cooked and tender, and not mushy or falling apart. This slideshow will demonstrate how to soak beans so they come out perfect.
This slideshow will take you through the process of achieving perfectly beaten egg whites, from the whole egg to stiff peaks.
Note: Each week Kumiko Mitarai will break down simple, but hardly ever explained, cooking techniques. The step-by-step lessons will feature corresponding recipes so you can put that basic technique into practice. This week she caramelizes onions. Take it away, Kumiko! —The Mgmt. Use This Technique Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Bacon » I used to think that browned onions and caramelized onions were pretty much the same thing. The difference is actually pretty dramatic. Onions can be browned in just a few minutes and have a toasted, sometimes charred taste on the surface. But when onions are caramelized, they develop a deep sweetness and a beautiful amber color that goes all the way through the onion. It's an...