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A&E >  Cooking

Water Cooler: Knife care basics

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 20, 2021

Purchasing a quality chef knife is a great first step for a beginner home cook, but the quality of the knife soon won’t matter if it isn’t cared for. Luckily it only requires a few habits and precautions to ensure the knife lasts for many years to come.

A&E >  Food

Water Cooler: The history and basics of bagel and lox sandwiches

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 13, 2021

The bagel and lox is a staple of American Jewish cuisine, and, although it has New York roots, it is now popular across the nation. The signature ingredient is lox, which is derived from the Yiddish word for salmon, and it almost always refers to thin fillets of brined salmon.
A&E >  Cooking

How to braise vegetables and bring out their best flavors

To braise or not to braise, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the kitchen to prepare vegetables with low heat and little moisture, or to use another technique from one’s culinary bag of tricks, and, with a scorching pan or rapid boil, cook them? When it comes to cooking vegetables, braising is rarely front of mind.
A&E >  Cooking

Leeks and fresh dill take cozy split pea soup from drab to fab

This soup isn’t supposed to excite me, but it does. It’s pea soup, after all, typically a metaphor for drab and boring. While it might not have the outright glamour of other soups, I am enamored with it nonetheless. I love that it’s a warming, filling, meal-in-a-bowl – as cozy as the softest flannel PJs – made with few steps and minimal chopping.
A&E >  Cooking

How to safely defrost meats, soups, baked goods and more

Count me among the people who pat themselves on the back when they carefully pack away food in the freezer, knowing there’s something to cook and eat in the future. That, my friends, is only half the battle. Of course, there’s the issue of remembering what’s actually in there (I’ve been trying to track our inventory on a whiteboard). 
A&E >  Cooking

Water Cooler: Homemade potato chips are worth the effort

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 6, 2021

Everyone knows the sense of disappointment that follows ripping open a fresh bag to potato chips only to discover that two-thirds of it is air. One way around this is to make your own. Whether you praise the delicately thin potato chip or swear by the thicker, kettle style, homemade potato chips are worth the time and effort.
A&E >  Beer/Drinks

How to substitute for alcohol in cooking and baking

There are a number of reasons alcohol is off-limits for some people when cooking or baking, such as an allergy or an inability to use it when preparing food for children or those who might be in recovery. Maybe it’s not in your pantry, now that we’re shopping less often, or even your budget.
A&E >  Cooking

Water Cooler: How to make Snert, the signature Dutch pea soup

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 31, 2020

Pea soup is found all over the world, but in the Netherlands it is a wintertime specialty. “Erwtensoep” or more casually, “snert” is the rich, thick Dutch version of pea soup. It was often sold at koek-en-zopie outlets, which were small drink and food stalls that popped up on frozen bodies of water to sell treats to hungry and cold ice skaters.
A&E >  Food

Water Cooler: Beginner’s guide to onions

Onions are versatile, cheap and delicious. With so many varieties of onions and other similar vegetables in the Allium family, it can be hard to know which is best for a specific recipe and cooking method. The allium genus includes onions, shallots, leeks, chives, garlics and scallions.
A&E >  Food

Make this cranberry and candied ginger granola part of your winter routine

If I run out of homemade granola, someone needs to call a doctor because it’s a sign that something is terribly amiss. I always have a batch in my refrigerator (where it keeps longer than at room temperature) waiting to be eaten with milk and berries, sprinkled on yogurt or layered on top of simmered fruit for a short-cut crisp.
A&E >  Food

How to make crispy, golden potatoes every time

A platter of crispy potatoes appeals to all the senses. That enticing golden color. The texture and sound of the crunch. The smell. The way the crackling crust gives way to a creamy interior. Soggy, limp potatoes are just the opposite: sad and unappealing. Why even bother? Thankfully, there are ways to ensure maximum crispy potential.
A&E >  Food

Figs stuffed with goat cheese are the low-effort, high-flavor appetizer you need

I lit up like the twinkling decorations around me when I overheard two women at a holiday potluck a few years ago rave about their favorite bite of the night: the stuffed figs I brought! This was no ordinary party – it was the annual fete of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic organization of female leaders in the fields of food, beverage and hospitality.
A&E >  Cooking

Water Cooler: Why and how to use coconut milk

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 17, 2020

Coconut milk is waiting to become the shining star of your cuisine during these dark and cold months. This oil-in-water emulsion made from the liquid extraction of grated coconut pulp delivers all the creamy richness you want from a cozy meal but with tons of vibrant flavor. Coconut milk can be up to 20% fat, which determines its thickness.
A&E >  Cooking

Water Cooler: Tips and skills to learn as a beginner home cook

UPDATED: Wed., Dec. 9, 2020

Learning to cook is a journey. Only through a bit of trial and error do you learn your favorite methods for preparing and cooking food the way you prefer and aspire to. That said, trial and error can be much more fruitful when you have a little guidance, so here are some skills, tips and habits that are handy to learn as a beginner home cook.
A&E >  Food

7 smart tips for baking better cookies

We’ve baked a lot of cookies in our time. Dozens of batches, untold hundreds (thousands?) of individual treats. Between all that cooking, along with a healthy dose of developing and editing recipes, we have gathered quite a few tips and tricks. Now we’re sharing our collected wisdom with you to help guarantee success.