Cooking Tips

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 is all you need to know about defrosting or thawing frozen chicken.   Above: Chicken Parmigiana Thawing Frozen Chicken First, chicken should never be thawed or defrosted 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 …

Read More

How to Cook with Ginger

Fresh ginger is one of the greatest ingredients in my arsenal. Spicy, bracing, zesty, assertive, uplifting. In almost every stir fry, in cocktails, in baked goods, in marinades. It’s one of the easiest ways to add bang-for-your-buck flavor to so many dishes.   How to Peel Ginger (with a Spoon!) You can surely use a traditional vegetable peeler, but the lumps and bumps of ginger make it a little hard to navigate. A plain old teaspoon however is a great too for peel ginger. The skin of ginger is very thin, so just scrap over it with the edge of …

Read More

How to Peel Pearl Onions

Baby onions are so charming in different dishes, from the classic peas and creamed onions on the Thanksgiving table, or a nice tray of roasted vegetables. But they are a pain in the neck/fanny to peel. Yes, you can go for the bag of frozen peeled pearl onions, and for many purposes that’s fine, but sometimes you want fresh…. but you don’t want to spend the better part of a day separating the peels from the onions.   What Kinds of Onions Can Be Peeled? This works on all kinds of small onions, from pearl to Cippolini. Pearl onions can …

Read More

7 Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving Easier, Or How to Kick Thanksgiving’s Butt

It often seems that those who love/like Thanksgiving the most have an inverse relationship to how much time they spend preparing the Thanksgiving meal.  It’s easy to like a holiday where copious amounts of food magically appear on a table with pie waiting at the end.  That’s not quite fair, but it’s up to us cooks and hosts to improve our own Thanksgiving cheer, without forfeiting the oven mitt and the whisk. 7 Ways to Make Your Thanksgiving Easier Here are the tips I fall back on year after year, for Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings. 1. Lists, lists, lists …

Read More

How to Warm Tortillas

Whether you are making soft tacos, enchiladas, or a layered Mexican casserole, you will be amazed at how much better your dish gets if you heat your tortillas first. The texture becomes a lot more pliable, especially in the case of corn tortillas which can be dry and crack when they are folded or bent. But even more importantly, whether flour or corn, the flavor of the tortillas becomes so much more toasty and satisfying. And while you can warm them in a stack in the stove (wrapped in foil) or in the microwave (on a plate, with a damp …

Read More

26 Things to Make with Leftover Cheese

Whether you purchased packaged shredded cheese or shredded it yourself, sometimes you don’t use it all up, and there is no way this is going to waste.  In fact it’s one of the best “leftovers” ever – I actually buy cheese and shredded cheese all the time without the slightest notion of what I will make with it, because I know when I have shredded cheese in the house, only good things will happen. Cheese Choices While some of these recipes might stipulate a particular kind of cheese, almost always it’s up to you which one you’d like to use.  …

Read More