Tips

How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust

Blind baking is the term used for baking a pie crust on its own, so that it can be fully cooked and wonderfully flaky before you start piling in a filling that doesn’t need to be cooked, like a chocolate mousse pie, or all kinds of icebox pies. It’s a great technique to know. Sometimes a crust is partially baked when the filling only requires a short time in the oven, which is known as partial blind baking, but we’ll leave that for the next pie. What this entails is fitting the pie dough (homemade or from a package, your …

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How Long Do I Marinate That?

Why Marinades are So Great Marinades are brilliant because essentially you can take any kind of meat or fish or seafood you like, give it a dunk in the mixture and you’ve turned a plain something into a great dinner. The more delicate the protein, the less you want to marinate it, especially if it contains citrus juices which can start to “cook” the food and change its texture (eg, make it mushy). Some Guidelines for Marinating Success The thinner the food, and the less dense the food, the less time it needs in the marinade. The more acid (citrus …

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10 Essential Cooking Methods Everyone Should Know

The other night, I was traveling, and my husband was on his own. We were on the phone, and he said, “Uh, what do I do for dinner?” We will pause to acknowledge that I have clearly enabled my people to a sad degree, when it comes to feeding themselves. I said, well, if you’re at a total loss, make some pasta and open up a jar of sauce. We have no sauce, says Gary. So I said, well, sauté up a chopped onion and add a can of crushed tomatoes and some basil and oregano. “Will do…What does sauté …

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How to Safely Thaw Frozen Chicken

Getting chicken safely from a rock-hard frozen state to a thawed ready-to-cook state raises a lot of questions.  Here are the answers. First, chicken should never be thawed on the counter at room temperature or in a bowl of hot water. The following methods should allow you to thaw chicken and keep it out of the “danger zone” (40 to 140°F), which is the temperature zone that allows bacteria to grow. In general, larger cuts of chicken, especially a whole chicken, should be thawed in the refrigerator, as the chicken will start to cook on the outside if it is …

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Thanksgiving Dinner Solved

Some of you may have your entire Thanksgiving meal planned at this point. I’m impressed. We’re not that together in my family, despite what you might imagine.  In fairness, most of the menu is the same year after year, so it’s never a total shocker in terms of what we will be eating. But there are always a few new dishes, and who does what changes ever so slightly from year to year. My mom is the perennial host of Thanksgiving, and the doler-outer of assignments, and let’s just say she doesn’t work too far in advance. And, as the …

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Relax, It’s Just…..Risotto! (for starters)

SO excited about my new monthly column on FoodNetwork.com! It’s called: “Relax, It’s Just……” (fill in the blank). Every month I’ll share a new recipe, something that many people feel intimidated about making at home, and de-mystify the pants off of it. There will be detailed instructions, but written in language that even a novice cook can easily understand, and lots of tips so that you will feel confident, and you will end up successful. And step-by-step photos so you can see what is supposed to be happening when. The goal of this “Relax” column is to help you become …

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