Crystal malts are a staple in almost every beer recipe. Light crystal malt, like C-20, is used in pale ales, the darker C-120 can be used in stouts, and every recipe in between calls for some variety of crystal. Since crystal malts are among the few styles that do not need to be mashed, they are ideal for extract and partial-mash brewers to use as steeping malts. Anyone can make this fabulously versatile malt at home. All it takes is any standard pale malt, some water and a few hours in the oven.
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Consider the Gibson. Cousin to the martini, its only distinguishing characteristic is the use of a cocktail onion as its garnish. A great cocktail onion is crisp and carries a hint of other flavors, beyond just the piquant onion. Cocktail onions, being small, are generally sweeter and less bracing than their full-sized counterparts. When you buy cocktail onions in the store, you have several choices. But many of them include additives and preservatives that would embalm a horse.
Candied citrus zest makes a beautiful, edible garnish for summer desserts by brightening up baked fruit and lending zing to fresh berries. It also makes a damn fine addition to cocktails, and is the secret ingredient in my rosemary lemonade cake.
Think of gastrique as the simplest version of sweet and sour sauce. Once you learn the technique—caramelize sugar (or sometimes honey), combine it with equal parts vinegar, and reduce it slightly to make a tart, slightly thickened syrup—the flavoring varieties are endless. Add fresh fruit or berries, a dash of juice like tomato or orange, alcohol, citrus peel, herbs, spices or chiles.
Gourmet markets charge an arm and a leg for this creamier, milder cousin to sour cream. But you can make some at home—by leaving it out in the summer heat, science-project style—for half the cost.
I'm no culinary blowhard—half the time I can't retain the fancy-pants French cooking terms anyway. But I am big fan of paillard. For such an ostentatious term, one that seems like it should describe a ballet move or a European building, paillard is one of the least complex and most approachable food preparations I've learned.
True, making breadcrumbs from scratch is nothing fancier than pulverizing, toasting, and maybe seasoning old bread. The real charm of the homemade stuff: A spare half a loaf could inspire new dinner ideas on the spot—if you know how to use it. Read on for tips on custom-making crumbs to suit your meatloaf, pan-fried cutlets, baked chicken fingers, mac and cheeses, and other meals.
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.
When food is sautéed properly, it gets that golden, crispy crust and juicy, tender interior. But there's more to pulling it off than food-to-pan contact. Here are the five commandments of sautéing so that you can go forth against the evil that is gray, steamed food.
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.
Proper salting results in being able to taste the ingredients better, not the salt. The trick: Season along all stages of the cooking process (not just the end) and continue to taste, taste, taste as you go.
Learn the steps to making the perfect steamed milk with an espresso machine.
"Think of it as foreplay for fruits and vegetables." While blanching may not be the technique with the most mystique—you bring the water to a boil, drop in the goods, then shock them in ice water to stop the cooking—the benefits of blanching are where the allure's at. Blanched foods heat quickly so they retain color and texture, are depleted of their excess water (seems backwards, right?), and cook evenly so they're less likely to scorch or wilt during sautéing, frying, or other preparations that might happen later. In addition, ones you might normally find bitter, like greens, or fibrous, like carrots, become noticeably less so after a quick jacuzzi. That's why many vegetables in the professional kitchen are first...
This slideshow will take you through the process of achieving perfectly beaten egg whites, from the whole egg to stiff peaks.
When butter is clarified—the milk fats boiled out and separated, until only thick, golden butter fat remains—its smoke point is raised to, well, let's just say it's high enough to sear a thick steak or panfry a potato in. It also keeps longer than whole butter and imparts a concentrated, caramelly and delightfully nutty flavor
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...
I did my best with our family's old hand mixer but always wondered, do they really mean light and fluffy? How could a stick of butter and some sugar ever be anything but thick and heavy?
©iStockPhoto/lbrinck The boy I was seeing last year, a cook, passed on his knives to me before I started my first gig in a restaurant kitchen. They were his set from culinary school--sturdy and unfancy in their utilitarian black case. His nonchalance gave way to unfamiliar gravity as he ceremoniously bestowed them upon me. He demonstrated how to sharpen them, first with stone and then with steel, and looked concerned when I was catching on slowly, if at all. Knives are serious business—any cook knows that. On my first day in the kitchen, the cooks asked to see my knives. "They're hand-me-downs from a friend," I explained. But the chefs proved far more interested in showing off their own. They...