My mother makes perfect rice in the microwave with this steamer lid

Mom put this lid over a glass bowl and nuked the shit out of that rice for 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure there was water in there.

It was effortless and perfect.

These are easy to clean, amazingly reusable, wonderful in place of plastic wrap over a bowl and all kinds of great as a frisbee.

Agile-Shop Steam Ship Silicone Steamer Lid Food Covers, Pack of 3 via Amazon Read the rest

My first attempt at smoking meat on a compact bullet smoker

Smoking my dinner is the latest in slow 'n low cooking for me.

My brother, the actual bonafide chef in the family, got me addicted to smoking meat. While I've long been an enthusiast of sous-vide cooking, Brother Ben swears by his offset smoker. After visiting with his family for a bit, and eating a lot of barbeque, I was sold.

Smoking uses the same principles as sous-vide and also imparts a smokey flavor to your food. Thick, tangy and overpowering smoke, or just very delicate -- the choice is yours, sort of. Rather than immersing your food in a temperature monitored water bath, ala sous vide, smoking surrounds the food in warm smoke. You can find temperate controlled systems to make it a lot easier but that removes the fun of playing with fire for hours and hours.

Sous vide is easy, however, you plug in a circulator, put your meat in a plastic bag and away you go. Can smoking meat be as easy? After eating a few delicious meals of smoked salmon, turkey, pork and beef at my brother's, I wanted to spend my long days hanging around a campsite, living la vida Vanagon, smoking meat.

Offset, upright, pellet, gas, electric? What kind of smoker was the right one for me? My brother and I started watching lots of YouTube videos and it looked like a 'bullet smoker' also known as a 'water smoker' was the right way to go, for me. Bullet smokers have a fire right at the bottom, a water bath in the middle and a smoke/cooking chamber up top. Read the rest

Stove top pressure cookers are still awesome

The classic pressure cooker was the instant pot before there was an instant pot.

Want to turn shoe-leather style brisket into a wonderful pulled-beef sandwich filling in 25 minutes? Get out the pressure cooker. Simply throw food in the pot, make sure you've got a good seal, and let it cook.

This pressure cooker easily stores with your pots and pans. It is simple to clean, easy to use and I haven't found anything that makes me wish for an instant pot.

A pressure cooker has been a fantastic addition to my car camping kit.

T-fal P2614634 Secure Aluminum Initiatives 12-PSI Pressure Cooker Cookware, 6-Quart, Siver via Amazon Read the rest

Is this the best way to peel garlic?

Hold a bulb of garlic in one hand, a paring knife in the other. Jab the knife into a clove and lever it out of the husk.

Image: Twitter Read the rest

Howto: make better salads

Bon Appetit's 20-tip roundup of salad-making tips is full of culinary wisdom, from the mechanical (how to use a salad-spinner properly and how to apply dressing for a good, even coat that doesn't turn delicates to mush) to the chemical (using salt to tenderize raw cabbage) to the culinary (toast your nuts, put chopped veg in your dressing, mix your vinegars). It's a great and timely piece for anyone getting ready to enjoy the summer's garden veg or anyone trying to get kids to eat more veggies. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Do not bring a duffel bag full of 40 vacuum-sealed frozen piranhas into LAX

A famous chef tried to haul a duffel bag full of 40 vacuum-sealed, frozen piranhas into Los Angeles for a cooking competition. Read the rest

Justin Wilson's "gar-on-tee"

I had misassigned the "Gar-On-Tee" to Chef Paul Prudhomme for some reason. Justin Wilson is the chef who filled my kitchen with empty promises. Read the rest

I want to go to the cast iron market in Brimfeld, Mass

I want to go there.

My favorite pan is a Wagner I got at Goodwill in San Francisco.

I especially like to refinish cast iron waffle irons.

(Thanks, David Wolfberg!) Read the rest

Of pasta and patents

According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta, there are hundreds of pasta shapes. At Smithsonian, Elizabeth Chu and D. Lawrence Tarazano of the US Patent Office look at relatively recent machinery to crank out the floury forms. From Smithsonian:

The various shapes can be categorized based on the means by which they are formed: by hand, rolled into sheets, or extruded. For each pasta making method, there have been a number of inventions to ease and mechanize the process.

Pastas formed by hand have been the most difficult to replicate by machine because of the complexity of the actions done by hand. Cavatelli, gnocchi and orecchiette, for example, are made by rolling pasta dough by hand into a long snake shape, cutting it into equal sized dough pieces, and dragging the dough to form a cup like shape. With cavatelli and gnocchi, the dough is dragged against a fork or grooved surface with a thumb to form a curled dough piece in the shape of a hot dog bun; the only real difference between the two is the dough. Gnocchi is made from a dough containing eggs, flour and cooked potatoes, whereas cavatelli are typically made from an eggless semolina wheat dough. Orecchiette, Italian for β€œlittle ear,” are made by dragging the dough pieces against a flat surface using a small spatula or knife, followed by a little hand shaping to round it out.

Italian inventors Franco Annicchiarico and Adima Pilari, who received U.S. patent no. 4,822,271 on April 18, 1989 for β€œan improved machine for manufacturing short cut varieties of Italian pasta (orecchiette, etc.),” developed a machine for making these cupped pastas.

Read the rest

Celebrity chef attempts DIY Pringles

Pringles are my favorite chip. In this Bon AppΓ©tit video, chef Claire Saffitz attempts to make them herself. Even if she nailed the form and the flavor, I don't think her technique would scale in my household. Admittedly, once I pop, I can't stop. Read the rest

Epicurious has a video explainer on brownies that takes the cake and delivers the fudge

I wanted to make fudgy brownies. Read the rest

Holy fudge is there conflicting information online about inducing brownie 'cakeyness'

I want fudgy brownies. Read the rest

Hot Cheetos Thanksgiving Turkey

Do you like Flaming Hot Cheetos? Well, heck. Why not enjoy a Flaming Hot Cheetos Thanksgiving turkey dinner with the whole family this year. Read the rest

How to cook Brussels sprouts, restaurant style

Poorly roasted Brussels sprouts are awful, nearly as bad as boiled ones. In this video, you'll learn how to cook them the right way -- "charred, dark, and with maximum crunch."

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Baking Skullzones, skull-shaped calzones, for Halloween or any time

Awesome baking project for Halloween. Read the rest

How to cook and eat a gourmet meal in Antarctica

Very quickly. Before it, and you, freeze.

On Cyprien Verseux's Twitter account, wonderful snapshots of fun with food on the bleak, frozen ice sheets of Antarctica. Read the rest

Pastry chef tries to make Oreos from scratch

After attempting Lucky Charms and Skittles, Claire Saffitz is back with an attempt to make gourmet Oreos, which she says was the most fun of all these sorts of challenges. Read the rest

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