Cooking 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 Make a Perfect Baked Potato

I have to say, I love what I do, I really, really do. I like writing, I like cooking, and I like talking about writing and cooking (and just talking in general).  But sometimes I find myself in a slightly strange moment, often having to do with a particular article or project, where I am cooking and writing about one particular thing, and lots of it. My kids usually start off very enthusiastically, and then as the same food group presents itself over…and over….and over again, they start to wilt, and protest. One of the most extreme versions of this …

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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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11 Must-Have Thanksgiving Tools

The minute November hits, we’re all on the on-ramp to the holidays. Planning becomes the name of the game, to get all of the things done that need doing. Top of the list this month is Thanksgiving dinner. This is the kick off to all the holiday meals that will surely follow, and also a good chance to make sure your kitchen is ready and raring to go. Perhaps you are hosting for the first time, or having a bigger crowd than usual. Or maybe you’re just not willing to make do with the miscellaneous pans and utensils you’ve accumulated …

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