Cooking and Gadgets

Save a Nickel, Save a Dime

Print Email
by David Latt

beefribs.jpgFor me, shopping isn't fun if I don't get a bargain. My grandmother taught me well, "Never pay retail. If you want to be a good shopper, you have to pay less than other people and still get as good." In our neighborhood, Gelson's is the quality supermarket, carrying a full line of antibiotic-free, naturally raised meats. Which is great, except that they're pricey. The trick is to buy the meat when its been reduced, when a rib steak that was originally priced at $18.99/lb, is discounted to $7.99/lb. Any meat that's been reduced is still fresh, but it needs to be cooked that day or frozen.

Yesterday I stopped by and it was like my birthday. There must have been a dozen packages of prime cuts of meat, all reduced. I couldn't possibly eat all that meat in one day. But no way was I going to walk away from those bargains.

I bought half a dozen packages and prepped them for freezing. Years ago, after much experimentation, I learned a cool trick: if meat is marinated in olive oil seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, wrapped in plastic wrap, and sealed in a Ziploc freezer bag, it will stay fresh for months without any loss of flavor.

Gadget-Less

Print Email
by Maia Harari

cakeknife.jpgI had the world's strangest roommate. We were best friends in college and she seemed like  the perfect person to live with. She was a great listener, she was obsessed with Clive Owen and her purse was always stocked with remedies to just about anything – creams, lotions, pills, even powders. Everything was going great, until one day, it just wasn't. Her once mild room-dancing had started to rival the sound of a herd of elephants, her attempts to match our outfits had turned from sort of cute to sort of single-white-female (except that she's five feet tall and Asian) and she had invited her new best friend to come live with us for a month, without consulting me. She finally decided to move out, taking her friend with her. And they went amicably enough.

I came home with my friend Amanda that night to cook dinner, so excited to have the place to ourselves. We skipped around the apartment, lay down on the floor of the now empty second room and made our way into the kitchen to create a culinary masterpiece to celebrate our freedom. That's when we found out that she'd decided to take all of our utensils with her. Every last one, except . . . my dainty, little, silver cake knife.

All About Egg Coddlers

Print Email
by Amy Sherman

eggcoddler.jpgEvery once in a while I gain possession of some kitchen gadget or device that has fallen out of favor. Often despite my best intentions it just ends up on yet another shelf, unused, unloved. But aware of the risk, when my mother offered me her set of egg coddlers, I couldn't resist. They are so charming to look at that even if you swore off eggs you might want to put large blossoms in them for decorating a table or you could use them for serving jam or marmalade. They can also be used for heating up baby food.

Egg coddlers allow you to cook an egg to the consistency you like, and serve it up in a convenient and attractive manner. Personally I love the tecture of poached eggs, but there is no way to really get them dry enough once they emerge from their bath. I know Martha Stewart places them on the heels of bread and trims them just so, but they still seem drippy to me. I also like soft boiled eggs, but eating them out of the shell is a mess. I know they look cute in egg cups, but they really aren't that easy to crack the lids off and eat.

Top Kitchen Toy? The Cellphone

Print Email
by Julia Moskin

From the New York Times

cellphonecooking.jpgThe tech revolution has been a long time in coming to the kitchen. Our coffee machines are so advanced that they can practically drive us to work, but Internet-controlled toasters and Web-enabled refrigerators became punch lines.

One high-tech cooking tool, however, has transformed the kitchen lives of many Americans: the cellphone. It has become the kitchen tool of choice for chefs and home cooks. They use it to keep grocery lists, find recipes, photograph their handiwork, look up the names of French cheeses, set timers for steak and soft-boiled eggs, and convert European or English measurements to American ones.

“It taught me to cook, really,” said Kelli Howell, a college sophomore in Chicago, of her Nokia phone. Its photography, Internet and instant-messaging capabilities let her consult with friends, family and online sources as she got started in the kitchen. “I e-mailed about 20 pictures of a vegetable lasagna to my sister’s phone while I was making it,” she said. “And then I I.M.’ed with my mom about the topping.”

Read article...

The Exuberance of the Popover

Print Email
by Evan Kleiman

popovers.jpgThinking about Inauguration Day food festivities all of a sudden I realized that this can’t be a beer and popcorn afternoon grazing session, or late night ice cream buffet.  No, Inauguration Day is a morning celebration.  We need to begin Tuesday morning with a bang, with a dish worthy of taking a day off to immerse ourselves in simple happiness.  The popover popped into my mind (yes, I did actually think that).   When was the last time you had a popover? 

I don’t know any friends who make them regularly.  I admit to occasionally running into Neiman Marcus just to have a bite of eggy, chewy buttery goodness with a bit of butter beaten with jam.  It’s that bit of jam that puts the popover into high gear.  Now’s the time to take that jar of special friend made or artisanal farmers market jam or preserves and crack it open.  Lay out an assortment of jams, jellies and preserves, maybe some lemon wedges, powdered sugar and if you want to be decadent some fresh ricotta whipped with a bit of sugar till super smooth in the food processor.  Dust some cinnamon on top.  Yum, no….YUM.

Linguine

Print Email
by Simon Hopkinson

An excerpt from the latest Simon Hopkinson book "Second Helpings of Roast Chicken" published by Hyperion.

linguine.jpgNot only do I find the word linguine the most attractive to pronouce: lingweeeeeeneh – I also reckon its shape is one of the most appealing of all pastas when wrapped around the tongue. Curiously, linguine is a rare pasta within the indexes of most of the reputable Italian cookbooks I have, but when I finally found a brief description, the gist of it seemed to suggest flattened spaghetti. And, in fact, that is exactly what it is: not as wide as fettuccine or tagliatelle, but a bit thicker than trenette. And trenette is often understood to be the most favored pasta for dressing with pesto.

Corn Chowder and Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

Print Email
by Ann Nichols

chowder.jpgWhere I live, it is very, very cold. There are icicles on the trees, cars must be started at least 10 minutes before one actually wishes to make the first foray of the day, and everyone has boots with tread, a shovel, and backup pair of gloves. This morning, sidewalks and streets were covered with a sheet of ice, and we semi-seriously contemplated getting to church by sliding down the hill from our house. (Not that my life is all that Norma Rockwell-ian, but we actually do live at the top of a hill, and our church is more or less at the foot of said hill).

On a Sunday night when it’s been gray and cold forever, and the promise of the holidays is gone along with the first, unsullied snow, dinner needs to provide more than fuel. Demoralized persons (particularly those returning to school tomorrow after a blissful vacation) require something to lift the spirits in a way that cannot be accomplished with meatloaf or macaroni. Saving the demoralized requires something a little more interesting, a little more labor-intensive, and definitely farther outside the box.

About Pepper

Print Email
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

salt-and-pepper-shaker.gif Today I want to discuss Pepper.    

Yes, Pepper.  

I feel the eye roll.  You think you know what there is to know. It's sat on the table, every day, for a lifetime in an arranged marriage to Salt.  A couple.  Separate but not equal.  I mean, really, isn't Mr. Pepper, in our culture, sort of the lesser of the two?  The sides of the shaker by the stove are not as greasy.   Pepper is....

A kick.  A punch.  A jab. 

Salt knows her boundaries.  She comes to you in the right size. Pepper, the guy, has to be ground down, beat up, knocked into shape.  

But what is he really....?   

What is the nature of the love affair – not just between them – but between us? 

Cooking Sous Vide

Print Email
by Bruce Cormicle

underpressure.jpgI don't know about you but I've got five extremely angry über chefs glaring at me from their cookbook bookflaps on my kitchen shelf and it's making me nervous:  England's Heston Blumenthal's "The Big Fat Duck Cookbook", Thomas Keller's "Under Pressure", Grant Achatz's "Alinea", and a couple of chefs from Spain – Ferran Adrià's  "El Bulli Volumes 2003-2004", and Joan Roca's "Sous Vide".  It sounded like a good idea at the time – assembling courtesy of Amazon.com the modern greats for a holiday feast using the latest sci-fi techniques of sous vide (cooking food in a vacuum packed pouch) – and then having at it. 

smokinggunkit-sm.jpgWhat these chefs failed to take into account – and the cause of their ire – was that I now see I don't possess any of the tools required to cook any of their recipes. They want to know why they are in my kitchen.  I don't have a Polyscience Minipack-torre Model MVS31 Vacuum Sealer ($2025.00), a 8306C Model Thermal Circulating Bath ($1799.00), or even a functional spatula.  I do have, however, from a previously deranged buying spree – The Smoking Gun™ ($79.00), which runs on 4 AA batteries and helps infuse dishes with a smoky flavor.  An excellent Christmas present for your foodie friends.  But I'm crushed to learn from their website that the gun is now being touted as "Excellent for finishing products that are cooked Sous Vide".  Back to the beginning.  I won't be dining in.

Kitchen Wisdom, Volume 1

Print Email
by Matt Armendariz

thermometer-illustration1.jpgAll my knowledge of cooking comes from a lifetime in the kitchen with family. My grandmother, my mother, my father, my chef friends, my farmer friends, you name it – if I can glean something from them I will.

Many lessons have been learned through trial and error which I suppose is a good way to learn. I’ve made many mistakes and continue to make many mistakes (you should have seen my Korean song pyeon I tried to make the other day, I don’t even wanna talk about it). I thought I’d begin a series of things I’ve learned along the way and subject you to some bad illustrations I painted. Sometimes you just have to step away from the camera and change things up a bit. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Matt's Kitchen Wisdom Volume 1.

Kitchen Thermometers Are Your Friends.

There was a time when I tried to wing everything. The result? Soggy fried foods, destroyed melted sugar gloop, burnt butter (which isn’t a bad thing exactly but you know what I’m saying). And since deep frying plays a big part of On a Stick!, it’s important to know your temperatures and know when you’re where you want to be.

 

restaurant news

Gelato Bar
Los Angeles
by Lisa Dinsmore

ice-cream-cones.jpg Despite the fact I have parents who eat ice cream almost every day (if they could have it at every meal, they would), until recently I thought I could live happily without ever lifting a dessert...

Read more...
Kampuchea
New York
by Hope Stranger

kampucheadiningroom.jpgAlex and I have been dating for almost four months now.  We have shared several meals and conversations together beyond Casa Mono.  As our relationship has settled into a ‘monogamous’ place, we...

Read more...
Nosh Kitchen Bar
Maine
by Lisa Dinsmore

ImageWe're not really "Food TV" watchers since most of the shows make me hungry and feel inadequate as a cook, but we've recently become addicted to Man vs. Food. It's nice to live vicariously through...

Read more...
Hipster Pho
Los Angeles
by Maia Harari

  maia_passport.jpg

"How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
"It's a really obscure number. you wouldn't have heard of it."


Since starting my dance company, my affiliation with hipsters has...

Read more...