Category Archives: Cooking

What is Greek yogurt?

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk can all be lumped into the same category when it comes to baking. They’re all dairy products that help to tenderize baked goods and can be a bit on the tangy side. At least, plain yogurt can be a bit on the tangy side. For years, it seemed like the only way you could buy yogurt was pumped full of ... Read More »

Flour Storage Tips

Buying food, especially dry goods or other products with fairly long shelf lives, in bulk is a good way to cut back on your grocery bill. You get a lower overall price per pound or per ounce. The only problem with buying in bulk is that whatever you buy has to be stored properly to give it its optimal shelf life and to prevent spoilage. ... Read More »

What is lemon verbena?

Lemon verbena

Turn the pages of almost any cooking magazine and you’re likely to come across an ingredient that sounds both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time: lemon verbena. Granted, it might not be in every issue of every magazine, but it has gone from an uncommon ingredient to one that even very mainstream magazines (versus smaller circulation specialty mags) don’t hesitate to include. Lemon verbena ... Read More »

Troubleshooting homemade ice cream

Vanilla Gelato, churning

Making homemade ice creams and frozen yogurts is fun, but even when you have a good quality ice cream maker, there can be some difficulties with the process. The top two concerns that people have are (1) the ice cream is too soft and (2) the ice cream is too hard. Ice cream made in a machine designed for home use often doesn’t freeze ice ... Read More »

What is masa harina?

masa harina

When a recipe calls for cornmeal, it is usually referring to a slightly coarse and sandy flour made from ground, dried corn. It’s perfect for cornbread (for instance) and is widely used in other types of cooking, but in Mexico, Central and South America, this coarse type of cornmeal is not popular and a different type is used: masa harina. Masa harina is a very ... Read More »

ToasTites

toastite sandwich

Before there were panini, there were ToasTites – at least, that’s the way it happened in my house. A ToasTite (also “toas tite,”as two words or with a hyphen) is a grilled sandwich maker. To the best of my knowledge, they originated in the 1930s and 1940s and were made to cook sandwiches over a hot, open flame. The earliest models have round toasting plates ... Read More »

What does cook until thick mean?

Coating the back of a spoon

“Stir until thick” (or “stir until thickened”) might be one of the most difficult expressions in cooking to interpret when you’re just starting out. How can you tell when your sauce/custard/pudding is thick? How do you know it is thick enough? And what does “coat the back of a spoon” mean? The reason that these questions are so confusing is that there is no standard ... Read More »

Browned butter vs. clarified butter

melting butter

Last week I talked about how to make browned butter, butter that is cooked until the milk solids in it become brown and toasty, giving the butter a warm brown color and a wonderfully rich flavor. It is not the same as clarified butter. Clarified butter is also used in a liquid state, but is made in a different way. It starts with regular unsalted ... Read More »

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