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Food News – ChowhoundPudding Recipes For When You Can’t Be Bothered With CrustWhat is the Difference Between a Manhattan and a Perfect Manhattan?Will Run for FoodOur Favorite New Cookbooks for SummerWhat is the Difference Between Herbs and Spices?Friday Food Finds: Chobani, Watermelon Water, Mochi, and Banana PuddingHere’s the Top Secret Recipe for ‘Big Brother’ SlopChef Gordon Ramsay Just Set a Guinness World RecordHow Losing 100 Pounds Caused Me to Fall in Love with FoodWhat My Chef Friend Taught MeFormer Eleven Madison Park Bartender Matt Seigel Shows Us How to Make 3 Classic CocktailsFrench McDonald’s Would Like You to Eat Burgers with a Fork and Knife, S’il Vous PlaîtSpring Roll Recipes That Are Perfect for SummerHow to Eat So Well While Backpacking, It’s Like You’re GlampingRed, White, and Blue Pop Rock Recipes to Celebrate 4th of July with a BangEverything You Wanted to Know About Matcha Green TeaWhat Else Is Your Melon Baller Good For?The Ultimate Chicken Food Safety GuideWhat is the Difference Between Tiramisu and Cheesecake?Your Most Hated Kitchen Tools

https://www.chowhound.com Recipes, cooking tips, resources, and stories for people who love food Sat, 17 Jun 2017 14:55:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184727/pudding-recipes-for-when-you-cant-be-bothered-with-crust/ https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184727/pudding-recipes-for-when-you-cant-be-bothered-with-crust/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 14:55:33 +0000

https://www.chowhound.com/?p=184727

Summer is too hot to mess with all the fuss that crust entails when you want something sweet and homemade.

Enter pudding. It’s easy. It’s simple. It’s the way to go. Check out our favorite puddings, from fruity versions to decadent chocolate desserts. Take the pie out of the equation and just go with the filling. It’s awesome.

1. Mango Pudding

Chowhound

This uber-sweet, tropical fruit is a perfect summer flavor for pudding. This recipe doesn’t take much, and we like it like that. Get our Mango Pudding recipe.

2. Butterscotch Pudding Pops

Chowhound

Six ingredients: That’s all you need to make this treat a reality for your lazy summer days. Oh, and you’ll need to plan ahead, because freezing doesn’t happen in a half hour or anything. Get our Butterscotch Pudding Pops recipe.

3. Deep, Dark Chocolate Pudding

Chowhound

To taste even more of this rich, chocolatey experience, reduce the sugar by a third or more. It’s still decadent. Get our Deep, Dark Chocolate Pudding recipe.

4. Slow Cooker Rice Pudding

Chowhound

Forget even watching your milky sweet rice on the stovetop. With this recipe, you can let all vigilance go and sit by the pool. Get our Slow Cooker Rice Pudding recipe.

5. Strawberry Bread Pudding with Créme Fraîche and Whipped Cream

Chowhound

This is pretty decadent in a bright, summery way. Make use of seasonal strawberries and don’t go light on the cream. Get our Strawberry Bread Pudding recipe.

— Also try our Easy Banana Pudding recipe.

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https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184727/pudding-recipes-for-when-you-cant-be-bothered-with-crust/feed/ 0 Chowhound Header Image strawberry-bread-pudding-chowhound mango-pudding-chowhound Chowhound butterscotch-pudding-pops-chowhound Chowhound deep-dark-chocolate-pudding-chowhound Chowhound slow-cooker-rice-pudding-chowhound Chowhound strawberry-bread-pudding-chowhound https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184613/what-is-the-difference-between-a-manhattan-and-a-perfect-manhattan/ https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184613/what-is-the-difference-between-a-manhattan-and-a-perfect-manhattan/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 14:00:42 +0000

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The Manhattan is one of the most iconic and beloved classic cocktails that you can order.

Nothing makes you feel like more of a boss than sitting down alone at a dimly lit bar and asking for this boozy beverage, like you just walked out of a meeting with Don Draper and the cast of Mad Men. A classic Manhattan is made with only three simple ingredients: whiskey, vermouth, and bitters (and sometimes garnished with cherries or a lemon peel). You’re likely to already have these common ingredients on hand, but if you’re looking to mix it up, there are also many different iterations you can play around with, especially with liquor choice and the flavor of the bitters. Some people prefer to stir their Manhattans, but they are often prepared in a cocktail shaker and strained into a chilled glass—you can serve a Manhattan in a classic martini glass, coupe, or short rocks glass.

But what’s the difference between a Manhattan and a Perfect Manhattan? It turns out it’s not just the absolute best, most carefully measured, gold standard of Manhattans that makes for a Perfect Manhattan…it’s actually a distinction based on the vermouth. When talking about cocktails, the differences between dry, sweet, and perfect are all about what type of vermouth you’re using, and how much of it. Vermouth is classified as a fortified wine, which means it contains a fairly low alcohol content and is infused with a variety of botanicals and herbs. Manhattans are typically made with sweet vermouth, so the “sweet” distinction isn’t necessary in the name. “Perfect” implies a 50/50 blend of sweet and dry vermouth—so when you order a Perfect Manhattan, you’ll taste the addition of the dry vermouth.

But does anybody actually order a Perfect Manhattan? Celebrity mixologist Matt Siegel, a former bartender at New York’s Eleven Madison Park and owner of the In the Spirit Of Hospitality Group, has found that the requests for Perfect Manhattans are few and far between: “I think I’ve made one, maybe two, in my life. There are definitely Manhattan variations that incorporate Dry Vermouth (i.e. the Brooklyn, which is incredibly delicious), but for the most part people want their Manhattans the traditional way.”

The decision to use rye whiskey or bourbon is up to you—for a cocktail with only three main ingredients, there sure are a lot of delicious combinations that you can experiment with.

Check out our 7 recipes for Manhattans and try to make it until cocktail hour before you start pouring.

1. Perfect Manhattan

Chowhound

If you think a traditional Manhattan is a little bit too sweet, then try our recipe for a Perfect Manhattan made with half sweet vermouth and half dry vermouth. The angostura bitters, rye whiskey, and cherry are, in fact, perfect together. Get our Perfect Manhattan recipe.

2. Classic Manhattan

Chowhound

Our recipe for the classic Manhattan dates back to 1874. Two parts rye whiskey to one part sweet vermouth, two dashes of angostura bitters, and a cherry—it’s hard to beat. Get our Manhattan Cocktail recipe.

3. Cuban Manhattan

A tropical Manhattan perfect for a summer happy hour, this cocktail is made with rum instead of whiskey. Get our Cuban Manhattan recipe.

4. The Southern Slope (Bourbon Manhattan)

The New York Times

This bourbon Manhattan makes for quite a stiff drink…the addition of apricot liqueur adds a hint of sweetness that pairs well with the sweet vermouth. Get the recipe.

5. The Clint Eastwood

Saveur

A spicier take on the traditional Manhattan, the Clint Eastwood has bourbon, orange bitters, and the most decadent of cocktail cherries—the Amarena cherry imported from Italy. Get the recipe.

6. The Metropolitan (Brandy Manhattan)

The Spruce

The Metropolitan is also known as the Brandy Manhattan—this rendition follows the classic Manhattan recipe except you’re using brandy and some simple syrup as a substitute for the whiskey. Get the recipe.

7. Southern Manhattan

The Taste SF

A real treat, this southern Manhattan is made with pecan, magnolia, and habanero bitters for some added Southern flair. Get the recipe.

*Special thanks to bourbon aficionado and conscientious Manhattan recipe tester Anthony Marciano for additional research.

–Head image by Chowhound, using: Punch/Food & Wine.

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Running and eating are a perfect pairing — although not necessarily at the same time for most people.

Some people eat to run faster or longer. Others log the miles to eat whatever they want. Sometimes that’s the same person on different days. But then there are people who love to pound the pavement to restaurants. It’s a thing.

Adam Devine, 35, does all the above, depending on the day. He’s one of four team captains of the Prospect Park Track Club in Brooklyn, New York. (Full disclosure: This writer is a member also. Go PPTC!)

Right now, Devine is training to improve his speed, so he’s tailoring his diet to further that goal by limiting his sugar and processed carbohydrates, as well as eating whole foods, meat, and a lot of produce. As an ultra runner who can run up to 10 hours straight, Devine can eat while running as well. He has to. Otherwise, all bets are off.

“When I’m not training and just running to stay sane, I’m going to have all the fried chicken,” Devine says with a laugh. “Anything that holds still long enough is going to end up in my mouth.” A regular week can include 50 miles of running, so Devine can do that. You can’t scarf down a whole pizza as a reward for running three miles and expect no weight gain, he says.

Then there are those food runs.

In the last year or so, Devine joined in or organized a few food runs: a doughnut run to three local shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan; a March 14 “Pie Day” run to Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn; and a Women’s Day run to the women-owned bakery and bar, Butter & Scotch, in Brooklyn. “It’s not just about running and eating,” Devine says. “It’s about supporting local businesses and becoming a closer and more involved member of the community.”

Butter & Scotch

Conversation changes when you sit at a restaurant facing each other compared to running along side one another, looking straight ahead. Sometimes Devine feels more comfortable getting to know people while running than when eating at restaurants together.

Lisa Maya Knauer, 60, of Brooklyn however, particularly loves the social dynamic of gathering at restaurants after a run. “I didn’t start running to be able to eat more. That wasn’t the motivation,” says Knauer, also a club member. Knauer gravitated toward other runners who love to explore the dynamic city’s many restaurants. “Eating is often more fun with people,” Knauer says. “With all the wonderful ethnic restaurants here — from Burmese to Uzbek — it’s an opportunity to taste more things and share it with other people.”

Uzbek fried dumplings/Getty

For her first food run with the club, Knauer hightailed it to Manhattan’s Chinatown to slurp soup-dumplings. She’s run for Uzbek food at Nargis Café, Kore-Saram (Korean and post-Soviet Russian, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine) food at Café Lily, Sicilian square pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens, and an Ethiopian meal at Bunna Café, all in Brooklyn — plus one run for dim sum at Golden Unicorn Restaurant in Chinatown.

Jimmy Leung, 50, organized that dim sum run. He’s known within the club for his almost daily food jaunts and love of any dish that’s iconic, crazy, or decadent. He wasn’t available to interview for this article because he was out running and eating pastries.

No joke.

Jimmy Leung

Leung has a weekly run in which he picks up his installment of Dominique Ansel’s Cronuts (croissant-doughnuts) in Manhattan’s Soho. He zips all over, such as his recent run to the Lower East Side to have a corned beef sandwich at the famous Katz’s Delicatessen. Another day, he ran to get hot dogs and cream puffs. Most jaunts include club buddies.

Running makes food taste better, and a great food destination makes the journey more enjoyable, these runners say.

“It’s a chance to interact with people in a different way than when you’re just running,” Knauer says.

— Want to make your own food after a run? Check out these post-workout meals and snacks.

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Another season, another crop of books to help us all grow as home cooks. Now is always a good time to try something new.

Cookbooks sometimes are big, heavy tomes with beautiful photography that we browse, ooh, and aah, but never use when we’re in the kitchen. That’s OK. That use of cookbook is just as valid as books that inspire action and practicality. My grandmother, a wonderful home cook for almost 80 years, would snuggle into her living room reading chair with a cookbook for reading. A good food book can inspire dreaming as you lounge on the porch or by the pool.

Other books are chock full of tantalizing, not-too-crazy recipes that stir you to whip out the mixing bowl, and that’s great.Check out how Chowhounds weigh in on the cookbook of the month, every month.

These books were released in time for your summer menu plans, offering multi-cultural meals, salads, burgers, sweets, and vegan dishes.  Go forth, read, gaze, and cook.

Smoke and Pickles | Buy Now

Amazon

Chef, restaurateur, and author Eddie Lee embodies all the latest trends in one person by just being himself. Both the renaissance of Southern cuisine and Brooklyn DIY emerge in this book detailing curing, smoking, pickling, and fermenting. Not only that, there’s the Korean craze too. It’s comes honestly: Lee was raised in Brooklyn by Korean immigrant parents and he lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where he runs his multiple James Beard-nominated restaurant, 610 Magnolia. A former Top Chef competitor, he stuffed 130 recipes in this book, such as miso-smothered chicken, collards and kimchi, and braised beef kalbi with soft grits and scallions. Buy it here.

Mighty Salads | Buy Now

Amazon

The Food52 editorial team created another beauty with this salad book, published by Penguin Random House in April. Sure, you can toss a few items in a bowl and have a fine salad, but with these recipes, you can create a meal that’s as filling and tempting as a taco feast or pasta extravaganza. Salad is just the platform for all sorts of crazy combinations, such as a mushroom and mixed grains salad with carrot-harissa vinaigrette, which yes, does have a leafy green in it — Swiss chard. Besides grains, the salads can be heavy with meat, while others are light. Several recipes don’t contain any leafy greens. For summer, the fresh corn cakes with crab-tomato salad sounds particularly refreshing. Buy it here.

The World is Your Burger | Buy Now

Amazon

Now is the time to grant your friend who’s berserk over burgers this 432-page encyclopedic book with 250 illustrations detailing this dish’s history and culture, from White Castle to Daniel Boulud. Juicy burgers grilled over charcoal outdoors are arguably the best way to make this meaty main. So summer will get the reader in the mood even more. Author David Michaels has been obsessed about burgers since he was a boy. This is not so much a  cookbook, although there are 12 recipes in there, plus details on how to select and create all the fixings. Buy it here.

NYC Vegan | Buy Now

Amazon

Summertime can be too hot to eat a heavy, meaty dish, and you want something a little lighter. Published in May, this book by Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment can be the answer, especially if you are totally vegan already, and you want to enjoy all the iconic dishes that New York City has to offer. Make New York-style bagels, knishes, classic New York-style pizza, latkes, Brooklyn egg creams, New York cheesecake, black-and-white cookies, and dishes inspired by immigrants from all over the world, because no American place is more of a melting pot than this city. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this book, but it may inspire you to cook more meatless meals when you see how filling and creative you can be without animal products. Buy it here.

Bakeless Sweets | Buy Now

Amazon

We were won over by two words: Nutella fluff. That’s all it took. Plus, we can’t have a round up of our favorite books without including at least one selection devoted to dessert. What better sweets cookbook during hot weather than one that requires no cooking? Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand, executive editor of The Ktchn, tempts us with 125 recipes, from butterscotch pudding and panna cotta to icebox cake and cookies that don’t need to go in the oven. Most of the recipes are gluten-free, too. Score! Buy it here.

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Whether you’re seasoning chicken or amping up stew, herbs and spices have the ability to elevate any dish’s flavor profile from boring and drab to complex and fab. Take basil, for instance. Spaghetti marinara is essentially pasta and smashed tomatoes without the aromatic herb’s peppery and slightly minty presence. Or how about red cayenne pepper? Good luck bringing the heat to your seafood paella or award-winning chili without it.

Unsurprisingly, many of us are unaware of the differences between herbs and spices, having used the words synonymously while cooking or discussing our favorite foods. We’re here to clear up the distinction, which all boils down to a simple lesson in botany (or herbology, if you’re a wizard).

Herbs are the leaves of the plant (think rosemary, parsley, dill, and oregano), while spices are derived from the seeds, bark, and roots (think pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric). Some plants, like cilantro, can be both (we use the leaves and its coriander seeds), but most serve a single purpose. And there you have it. Now you can sound all kinds of smart and professional the next time you’re in the kitchen.

We’ve rounded up six of our favorite herb and spice-heavy recipes below. Take a stab at them and impress all of your dinner guests.

Herbed Potato Salad

Chowhound

It’s hard to mess up a classic and we adore this mayo-free version that is heavy on flavor and light on added calories. Just be sure to pack a breath mint — this packs a heavy garlic and onion punch! Get the recipe.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Orange, Yogurt and Herbs

Chowhound

A splash of citrus really brings out the herbs, while yogurt tames their zest. It’s the perfect harmony of fresh ingredients. Get the recipe.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Feta and Herbs

Chowhound

Cheese and herbs are a match made in tastebud heaven. You’ve had Boursin, right? If not, head to the grocery store immediately and purchase it. Your life has just begun. Get the recipe.

Spiced Zucchini Muffins

Chowhound

Spices aren’t exclusive to savory entrees. Jazz up a basic dessert by adding simple spices with bold tastes. Get the recipe.

German Mulled Wine

Chowhound

It doesn’t have to be Christmas-time to enjoy this festive cinnamon and clove-based drink. In fact, this would make for an excellent tea or coffee substitute on a rainy summer Sunday. Get the recipe.

Spice-Rubbed Pot Roast

Chowhound

You can’t go wrong with a pot roast when it comes to home-cooked meal night. The only difficulty is predicting how much meat will actually feed and satisfy your hungry family. Get the recipe.

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Summer has officially arrived, which means food companies, restaurants, and bakeries are rolling out all of their limited edition summer flavors and menu items. We teamed up again with SiriusXM’s Wake Up with Taylor to taste test the latest snacks and fads that are debuting around the country. Listen below and head directly to your local grocery store (or Magnolia Bakery) to try them. We guarantee you’re going to get hungry.

Chobani Greek Yogurt Kiwi and Watermelon Summer Flavors

Chobani

We love ourselves some Chobani, but we aren’t sure if these were our favorite. While the kiwi taste was unique and subtle, the watermelon came off as artificial…almost like a watermelon Sour Patch Kid, but without the tartness. Frankly, our favorite way to eat Greek yogurt is to buy it plain and doctor it up with our own ingredients like seeds, nuts, and fruit. Dr. Oz would be so proud.

WTRMLN WTR Ginger Flavor

WTR MLN

We wanted to like this refreshing and healthy drink SO badly (because investor Beyoncé can seriously do no wrong), but the potent ginger flavor didn’t align with the watermelon juice’s subtle sweetness. We’ll have to try the original and report back to you, but feel free to sample this yourself and let us know how you feel. (Sorry, #Beygency. Please don’t kill us.)

My/Mo Mint Chocolate Chip Mochi

Come through, mochi! If you aren’t able to stop by LA’s Museum of Ice Cream to experience the Mint Chocolate Chip room, just head to your local Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger, or Safeway to pick up a box of these guys. At only 110 calories per serving, it’s the perfect late-night snack to satisfy that pesky sweet tooth.

Magnolia Bakery Magic Bar Banana Pudding

Magnolia Bakery

This limited edition July flavor is exactly what heaven tastes like…or what we hope it tastes like. If heaven was edible, of course. (Bear with us, it’s Friday.) The chocolate chips are a perfect texture crunch against the gooey cake and rich banana pudding. Also, does coconut ever taste bad on any dessert? The answer is no, obviously. Watch out for S’mores and Salted Caramel varieties later this summer.

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Beach vacations, exposed midriff, and brunch-side bottles of rosé may be sure-tell signs that summer has arrived, but fans of CBS’s long-running competition series Big Brother know that our favorite season only begins after a dress-clad Julie Chen mutters the words “welcome, houseguests” on Wednesday, June 28 at 8/7c.

In celebration of the long-awaited season 19 premiere, we decided to whip up a batch of everyone’s favorite Big Brother treat: Paul’s friendship muffins. ZIIIIIIING! Just kidding. What we really meant to say was “slop.”

Sure, the protein and vitamin heavy concoction is obviously no treat, but it has provided viewers with television gold as house have-nots (those who fail at weekly challenges) squirm and gag at the prospect of eating what is essentially gruel served in oversized buckets. But let’s be honest, we’ve all kind of wanted to know how it tastes…and now’s your chance!

To get started, all you need is steel cut oats, unflavored whey protein isolate, unflavored soy protein, and vitamin and mineral powder. You can also top your finished slop with one of the following pre-approved condiments: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, vegetable oil, hot sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, olives, relish, salsa, soy sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, maple syrup, black pepper, garlic salt, crushed red pepper, salt, vanilla, basil, bay leaves, cinnamon, leaf oregano, paprika, parsley, rosemary, brown sugar, artificial sweetener, powder creamer, white sugar, coffee, tea, protein powder, and milk. It’s no Head of Household basket, but your options aren’t completely tragic.

Check out the video above for a step-by-step cooking process, as well as the exact (and surprisingly healthy) recipe that producers use on the show. Who knows, you may actually like the unappetizing taste and consistency. Expect the unexpected.

Get the Official Big Brother Slop recipe.

Chowhound

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Aside from spewing profanities and making delicious food, Gordon Ramsay is damn good at filleting a fish. So good, in fact, that he challenged halibut expert Janna Fabich to a competition on his newest and most appropriately-titled series, The F Word. 

As a way to up the ante, Ramsay also invited officials from the Guinness World Records to oversee their intense breaking and prepping process. The number to beat: 15 portions of halibut (weighing at 40 grams or more). The time to beat: two minutes or less. The result: Ramsay for the win (Obviously. There’s a reason why he’s allowed to verbally assault his contestants on Hell’s Kitchen.)

With a minute and five seconds to spare, the new record holder chopped and sliced through the challenge at lightning speed. (Fabich clocked in at 13 pieces in two minutes, in case you’re interested.)

Check out the clip below to see Ramsay in action. And if you’re now craving fish for dinner, we’ve gathered three of our favorite halibut recipes. But please butcher with caution.

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Corn-Husk-Wrapped Grilled Halibut with Charred Corn Salsa

Chowhound

Everything is more fun when served in a corn husk, especially if it’s topped with actual corn. Serve with a side of cornbread to go real corn crazy. Get our Corn-Husk-Wrapped Grilled Halibut with Charred Corn Salsa recipe.

Halibut with Watercress Pesto and Cannellini Beans

Chowhound

When it comes to beans, cannellini reign supreme. Try this Italian-inspired dish and you’ll save a pasta-fueled trip to Carrabba’s. Get our Halibut with Watercress Pesto and Cannellini Beans recipe.

Halibut Ceviche with Watermelon

Chowhound

Summer is here and ceviche is in. Impress your friends and family with this refreshing take on a timeless classic, complete with seasonal watermelon. We’ve also been told this pairs well with a margarita or mojito, so cheers in advance. Get our Halibut Ceviche with Watermelon recipe.

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When I’m anxious or sad, I stuff my face with carbs and sugar and cheese, ingredients which are wonderful in and of themselves. Life is too short to deny myself at least one of these Chowhound Intense Brownies at some point. But comfort foods turn on me when I shovel bucketloads of the stuff down my throat, when hunger becomes a long forgotten point. I know I’m not the only one. Many of us have a love/hate relationship with food. Stress hormones and high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” push people toward overeating, according to Harvard Medical School research. During the U.S. presidential election, #eatingmyfeelings was a popular hashtag for good reason.

So when my personal life turned upside down more than seven years ago, I used that rock-bottom situation to rebuild myself the way I’ve always wanted to be — healthy and happy. But I had to do it my way (cue Sinatra song), by focusing on more healthy food rather than less unhealthy food. Along the way, the pounds poured off my 5-foot, 10 3/4-inch frame, little by little, until I basically lost the weight of a 12-year-old boy (or 100 pounds).

Amy Sowder

Losing that weight caused me to fall in love with food.

That might not make sense at first glance, but hear me out. I didn’t follow any prescribed diet or exercise plan, but I went speed-walking every day for 30 minutes until I could gradually run. I did strength training and physical activities that felt fun. To change my eating habits, I had to change my perspective. I don’t want to be denied anything. Denial sucks, and it only makes me want the banned food even more.

Without realizing it, I used the crowding-out method, which is about eating the healthiest foods first, before the less healthy foods. I stuffed my face with vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. If I was going to have pizza, I ate a salad first. I love salads with fruit, cheese, and nuts, like this Fennel Strawberry Salad recipe. Then I was more likely to stick to one pizza slice instead of three or more. I’d wait 10 minutes to let the feeling of fullness travel from my stomach to my brain, and if I still wanted it, I’d have that second slice.

Chowhound

I’ve read enough women’s magazines in my life to know what’s healthy and what’s not. It was just a matter of taking action. That’s the kicker, isn’t it? For me, getting healthy means eating more whole foods found along the perimeter of the grocery store (thanks, Michael Pollan) and fewer packaged, preserved, prepared foods. That entails cooking from scratch.

Back then, I was a little intimidated by home cooking beyond sandwiches, ho-hum salads, and pasta with jarred sauce. It doesn’t have to be that way. In the past, I ate fast food, frozen food, and delivery. To change that, I started simple and worked up from there. I’ve never paid attention to calories, instead veering away from sugar.

Every meal or snack had to include fruit or vegetables or both. Not at the rolled-oats level for breakfast at first, I picked box cereals in which sugar was not in the first three ingredients on the ingredient list and contained the lowest levels of sugar per serving. I added berries and nuts. I picked or created the highest fiber breakfasts I could find and incorporated protein as much as possible. Bread: 100-percent whole wheat. Pasta: whole wheat or anything not white. Same with rice. I would create my dish using a 2-to-1 vegetable-to-carb ratio, and then add the protein on top.

I didn’t give up one of my favorite foods, cheese; I just used it sparingly. Desserts received the same treatment: Not forbidden, but treasured and rare — as in once nightly, in the form of a piece of dark chocolate or low-sugar ice cream with berries on top.

At restaurants, I’d eat half my meal and take the rest home. Sometimes I’d eat the second half that same night, which was OK. Other times it would be the next day’s lunch.

Amazon

One book had more influence on my transformation than any other. It wasn’t a diet book, a health book, or a self-help book. My brother, John, and my sister-in-law, Sandy, gave me this Best Ever Three & Four Ingredient Cookbook by authors Jenny White and Joanna Farrow for Christmas. It taught me I can cook gourmet-ish meals without much fuss or formal training. I remember making chicken with an orange-soy glaze and blistered tomato goat cheese pasta.

The book’s food wasn’t focused on being healthy, just real. That’s the biggest take-away from all this. Focusing on cooking real, delicious food means healthier food by default. That perspective changed my writing career, as it became an outlet for my growing passion for food, cooking, and wellness. Chowhound isn’t a health-specific resource by any means, but it is about cooking and celebrating the joys of eating, cooking, dining out, and entertaining.

Food doesn’t have to be something immediately gratifying that then morphs into guilt. Of course I haven’t followed these principles perfectly. (But I did run my first full marathon!) Seven years after that transformational time, I’ve gained about 20 pounds back, half of it intentionally. I focus on maintenance and balance. I backslide sometimes into old habits. But I forgive myself. And I keep enjoying this limitless culinary world.

Eating is one life’s greatest pleasures, and the more I’m mindful of that, the better off I am. I hope you are too.

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During college in Gainesville, Florida, my friend Katie Resmondo and I met while waitressing at a Mexican restaurant called El Toro. We’d hang out after shifts at each other’s apartments, chilling and cooking super-easy comfort food like Hamburger Helper Stroganoff.

This is the first time I’ve admitted that publicly.

Gradually we improved a bit though, serving “everything” bagels slathered with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and scallions to our girlfriends when we gathered with Cosmopolitans for our weekly Sex and the City viewing nights.

Fast forward more than 10 years later: Resmondo is a professional chef at Simply Wine, an American bistro in Billings, Montana, as well as a personal chef who caters and teaches classes. And I’m a food writer and editor in New York City.

We’ve come a long way since those boxed-meals. As Resmondo learned through hands-on experience in commercial Asian and American kitchens, I soaked up knowledge by interviewing and watching chefs in those kitchens and trying it at home.

The writer and Chef Katie Resmondo a few years back.

“One thing I teach people is if you know a combination is good, it doesn’t have to be done a traditional way,” Resmondo says. One time when I was visiting her, she blended corn chips to use as a binder in Mexican-inspired meatballs because she didn’t have bread or bread crumbs around. With cheese inside also and a tomatillo sauce draped on top, those meatballs were to-die-for. The bacon-speckled Spanish rice underneath those savory orbs was the perfect pairing.

She’s taught me to experiment, to not be intimidated by unfamiliar foods, dishes, or techniques. Other chefs, such as Samin Nosrat of the bestselling Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook, remind me to taste everything as I cook, throughout the whole process. Recipes aren’t necessary once you understand the four elements of good cooking, Nosrat told me.

“People assume that things are a lot more complicated,” Resmondo says. “Pretty much every cooking class I’ve taught, they’ve said, ‘Oh, that is a lot easier than I thought it’d be.’” Word.

Despite our 2,000-mile distance these days, Resmondo continues to teach me cooking tips and tricks that I use in my personal home cooking. She’s even created videos to show me her tricks that I try in my Brooklyn apartment.

You can benefit too. Try these tips from Chef Resmondo:

  1. How to separate egg yolks and whites.

There are many ways to do this, but Resmondo showed me the most basic, popular way that I use every time I need to separate my eggs. Tap the middle of the egg against the sink or bowl, and break it in half, pouring the yolk from one half to the other as the clear egg white oozes down into the bowl. This video shows that method, plus the technique of holding the yolk in your hand while the egg white seeps down between your fingers.

  1. How to scrape off the skin from ginger root.

Tasty Kitchen

I make smoothies a lot, and I love to use fresh ginger. The zingy root is also great in Asian-inspired stir-fry and noodle dishes. I used to slice off the bark-like skin, but it’s awkward and I wasted too much of the insides. Then Resmondo showed me how to scrape off the skin with the edge of a spoon. That way, you don’t lose as much of the peppery flesh. Plus, it’s easy.

  1. How to keep weeknight cooking simple.

Cooking in Sens

This one I haven’t fully grasped yet, but I’m a work in progress. “I don’t like to be in the kitchen for more than half an hour,” Katie says of her weeknight cooking for family at home. “Working in restaurants, you just get a lot faster, when you’ve done so much prep, chopping and such.” So how do the rest of us get faster? Repetition of your favorite recipes is one. And tacos. While the protein is cooking, toss the salsa ingredients in the blender, starting with garlic and jalapeño, which you fully blend, and finishing with tomatoes, which you pulse to keep it a little chunky. Add salt, lime juice, and cilantro afterward. Then add a dab of that salsa to some avocado you scooped out of its shell, and mash it with a potato masher, adding salt and lime juice. Put the protein (beef, chicken, pork, fish, beans, whatever) in the hard or soft taco shell, then those two toppings for a well-balanced, flavorful meal. That’s it. You can also check out our taco recipes.

  1. How to chop an onion.

It’s not the usual way. Slice off one end of the onion, but leave the root intact. You need that root to grip as you make horizontal slices from the edge toward the root, heading up. Then you slice vertically, with the tip of the knife facing the root. And finally, you slice vertically the third time, parallel to the root, to make little cubes. Our video can help.

  1. How to make a fancy swoosh on the plate.

Tundra

The swoosh (not related to Nike) is a cool technique when you’re cooking for guests, not necessarily for a Tuesday dinner with the family. It looks fancy and modern, but it’s so easy. Use this trick when you have a sauce or purée: Drop a dollop of the sauce on the plate, then place a spoon in it, and drag it out with a slight turn. The end.

  1. Sushi can be as diverse a foundation as tacos, pasta, or bread.

Vegan Food Like

You can put anything in your sushi, from a roll with bacon, chili peppers, and cream cheese, to more sweet rolls with dates, honey, and cream cheese and fruit sushi with mango, kiwi, and pineapple with coconut sauce. Full disclosure: I haven’t made sushi at home yet, so this is just a cool idea.

— Head photo: Vegan Food Like.

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New York’s Eleven Madison Park may get all the accolades for its innovative and obviously delicious menu, but behind a great restaurant is typically a great bar.

Matt Seigel, owner of In the Spirit of Hospitality group, was a former bartender at the world’s number one establishment, having concocted classic cocktails for the city’s most affluent, cultured, and opinionated diners.

We met up with the LA-based master of mixology to field his expertise on three of our favorite drinks: the Negroni, martini, and Moscow Mule. Needless to say, we feel like we’ve been doing things wrong the entire time.

Check out the video above, learn a few tips and tricks, then head behind a bar to try these recipes yourself. Happy hour just got even happier; a feat we didn’t think was possible.

Negroni

Chowhound

According to Seigel, it’s important to follow the 1:1:1 rule for Negronis, meaning that each component (gin, vermouth, and Campari) is mixed in equal parts. Always be sure to pour your spirits into the glass before your ice, otherwise the first spirit will get more diluted than the last. Top with an orange peel and get sipping. Get the recipe.

Martini

Chowhound

Gin, vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters: easy peasy, right? Well, sort of. Maintaining a cold temperature is everything when it comes to the perfect martini, including the frozen mixing glass. Seigel is also anti-sweet vermouth and an olive garnish. Apparently it ruins the cocktail’s balance, which should be clear and silky smooth. Get the recipe.

Moscow Mule

Chowhound

Our obsession with ginger beer has gotten a little out of hand, which is why Seigel opts for a ginger syrup (fresh ginger juice and sugar) instead. They key, however, to a perfect mule is its frothy and velvety consistency, best achieved through a whipping process using crushed ice. Get the recipe.

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We’re smelling a resurgence of 2003’s “Freedom Fries” campaign. And this time, it’s smelling a lot like Quarter Pounders.

McDonald’s in France has shocked fast food purists (okay, maybe just Americans) by encouraging the use of utensils with its hamburgers. According to Le Figaro, nearly 1,400 restaurants will be distributing recyclable plastic knives and forks, which only re-affirms the notion that French people are way more classy and sophisticated than the rest of the world. Seriously, what’s next? Table-side Chanel bag carriers?

While it’s not hard to believe that Europe’s biggest fork and knife connoisseurs have opted for mandatory cutlery options, we’re frankly surprised that not even greasy, meant-to-be-picked-up-and-devoured-quickly McDonald’s can inspire customers to ditch societal norms in favor of sloppy eating habits. (Though we applaud the French for standing up for tradition, no matter how uppity it may seem to us tongue-smacking, drink-gulping, ketchup-lipped Americans.)

Sure, the news may rile up all of you outspoken and uncompromising Big Mac “experts”, but it’s also important to note that French McDonald’s will only be offering the utensils with their line of more “expensive, signature burgers.” This is no more of an assault on fast food culture than Burger King’s decision to roll out black charcoal buns or Cheetos Chicken Fries. In fact, marketing ploys like the latter (which don’t stem from a country’s historical dining habits) can be downright terrifying.

“The cutlery is an evolution and not a break,” Xavier Royaux, vice president of marketing for McDonald’s France, confirms to Le Figaro, which means the fork and knife are clearly here to stay. And if you’ve got a problem with it (which so many people probably do), simple don’t visit France and enjoy life inside your messy-handed bubble. The world’s got plenty of issues, but for France, eating with a fork ain’t one.

Craving red meat? Get our Perfect Cheeseburger recipe. 

Chowhound

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Spring has sprung again, but this time in the form of delicious and customizable spring rolls for summer. The Asian delicacy, traditionally wrapped in rice paper or pastry dough, can be fried, steamed, or consumed raw with fresh ingredients like vegetables, fruit, and sushi-grade fish. No matter the season, this app is a perfect starter for any meal.

We’ve rounded up nine of the most creative and warm weather-friendly spring roll recipes we could find. Scroll down to check them out.

Vietnamese Spring Roll with Peanut Sauce

You don’t have to travel to Vietnam to get a taste of their culture. Vegetable and shrimp-heavy vietnamese spring rolls with binge-worthy peanut sauce are broken down in just a few easy steps. Check out the video above. Get the recipe.

Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Spring Rolls

Recipe Runner

“Get that fruit away from my meat,” – you, probably. Do not fear the seasonal strawberry. It is there to provide a balanced sweetness to your typically savory dish. Get the recipe.

Green Goddess Spring Rolls with Avocado Dipping Sauce

Rachl Mansfield

If Green Goddess rolls are filled with cucumber, spinach, and green pepper, we can’t help but wonder what the Green God roll is made of. Zucchini, kale, and green onion? The possibilities are endless. Get the recipe.

Loaded Baked Potato Spring Rolls

The Candid Appetite

Loaded baked potatoes don’t discriminate when it comes to weather, so don’t fear a mid-summer carbo-load in the form of these innovative spring rolls. In fact, you should embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly and dump even more sour cream than normal. Get the recipe.

Spicy Tuna and Mango Soft Spring Rolls

Cooking for Keeps

Yes, you are capable of making sushi within the comforts of your own home. No, these will not last longer than 10 minutes once you make them. Get the recipe.

BLT Summer Rolls with Avocado

Avocado Pesto

There’s nothing more satisfying than the crunch of a BLT, which means this spring roll variety hits all the right spots in the texture department. Lettuce-wrapped everything, please. Get the recipe.

Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls

Delish Knowledge

Oh, eeee, ohhhh! Killer tofu! Okay, so these may not actually kill you, but the taste is killer. In fact, we’re pretty sure that Doug Funny would approve. (Even if they don’t contain mayonnaise). Get the recipe.

Fresh Fruit Spring Rolls

Super Healthy Kids

Fresh produce is it at its peak picking time, which means it only makes sense to gather it by the handful, wrap it in rice paper, and dunk it in honey. Chowhound tested, Mother Nature approved. Get the recipe.

Banana Spring Rolls

V for Veggy

Frankly, it’d be blasphemous to not include a banana variety in a list of delicious spring rolls. It’s like the starchy fruit was created just so it could be wrapped and fried. Get the recipe.

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You’re more hard-core than those sissy campers who require all the regular luxuries and a vehicle within arm’s reach when they’re outdoors. When you’re backcountry backpacking, there’s nothing with you but what you carry on your back. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat MRE-type food (which isn’t that bad after a few days in the wilderness, truth be told). You can eat pasta with meat and vegetables, pancakes, and other dishes you wouldn’t expect. Here’s how.

First, bring frozen meat for your first couple days on the trail. Pre-cut or ground rock-solid beef, pork, or chicken can stay cold that long, especially if you’re hiking in high elevations. Save other proteins for later, like smoked meats, packed tuna, and beans. Then finish your journey with some delicious (no, really) freeze-dried meals. Brands such as Good to Go Foods and those found at R.E.I. and other outdoor-sports stores have high reviews.

Keep in mind, you have to carry everything you’re eating the next several days on your back. Everything. You want your food to be lightweight, compact,nutritious, require little more than adding boiling water, and be able to fit in a bear barrel. That is, unless you enjoy close encounters with hungry bears in the middle of the night when you’re peeing.

Fresh is best when the food is hard already, especially when it doesn’t need refrigeration anyway, such as apples, nuts, bell peppers, and corn on the cob for instance. Pasta and rice? So easy. Depending how long you’re trekking through nature with no stores in sight, you could even get away with no freeze-dried meals and still eat like a queen — if your journey isn’t longer than three nights or so. Five nights or longer, and you won’t want to load your back with too much weight, and those Good to Go Foods meals will taste amazing by that point.

Check out some of our favorite ideas, plus more on our Campsite Cooking page.

BREAKFAST

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Dirty Gourmet

If you have a relaxing morning planned, in which there’s no need to pack up camp and head on the trail right away, make some ‘cakes. The ingredients are shelf stable, and it feels amazing to have a pile of flapjacks as you sit among the trees. Flannel not included. Get the recipe.

Breakfast Scramble with Sun-Dried Peppers and Spinach

Fresh off the Grid

Use OvaEasy egg crystals, the closest-tasting dried eggs to the fresh thing and available at REI and Amazon. Add some spices to the eggs before you head out, and then all you need to do is add hot water and the vegetables. Some whole wheat pita or wraps would be good with these eggs too. Get the recipe.

Figgy Fuel Bars

Chowhound

You need to fuel up for your day. It’s no joke on the trail. Use these jam-packed bars full of almonds, brown rice cereal, Medjool dates, and sticky-sweet black Mission figs to get you going in the morning, or as a snack along the way. Get our Figgy Fuel Bars.

LUNCH

Pepperoni and Cheese Quesadilla

Trail Recipes

This seems so easy, it’s a no-brainer. Add some bell peppers, olives, artichokes, or whatever else you can carry that can keep well a few days if you want more vegetables on your pizza-dilla. Get the recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Peanut Butter Bagels

The Spiffy Cookie

Bagels are a good bread to bring because they’re hardy and won’t smush in your backpack. They do take up more space than say, pita or tortillas, but they’re arguably more filling too. Add apple slices and your favorite nut butter or cheese for a well-rounded meal. Get the recipe (if you need it).

DINNER

Campfire Couscous with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Chowhound

With fresh zucchini, you’ll want to eat this in the first few days of your backpacking trip so your green squash doesn’t get too beat up. But that’s no problem. Couscous cooks in less than five minutes. Add some frozen meatballs or chicken chunks, some packaged tuna or salmon, or beans for a hit of protein. Get our Campfire Couscous with Zucchini and Pine Nuts recipe.

Smoked Sausage Jambalaya

Seattle Backpackers Magazine

You don’t need many ingredients to make this filling, Creole-spiced dish a reality on the trail, and it can last until your final couple days. Get the recipe.

Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas

ThruEat

The trick here is either to use dehydrated spinach and peas or bring the vegetables along another way. You could always take it frozen and make this your dinner on evening one or two. Get the recipe.

DESSERT

Fudgy Toffee Pecan Cookies 

Chowhound

While these cookies meet the rich, gooey, crunchy requirements of awesomeness, any cookie can work, or candy bars, or a treat that makes the evening feel special as you reflect on all that you’ve seen so far that day. Oh, the places you’ve been. Get our Fudgy Toffee Pecan Cookies recipe.

SNACKS

Chowhound

It’s always a good idea to carry a snack or two in the cargo pockets of your pants or in an easily reachable pocket in your backpack — you know, trail mix, granola bars, and the like. You can make them, buy them, or try less typical snacks, like these Biena Chickpea Snacks in Rockin’ Ranch, our favorite flavor, or these Nutzzo single-serving packets of butter made from seven nuts and seeds. (Don’t tear the Nutzzo packets with your teeth. Your lips can get cut. Don’t ask…)

— Check out my own menu when I went backcountry backpacking for six days, five nights in Yellowstone National Park.

— Head photo: Thermarestblog.

Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She’s trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.

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Aside from grilled foods and refreshing summer cocktails (because #obviously), fireworks are inarguably the best part of Independence Day. Now you can have your fireworks and eat them too with these creative recipes that utilize one of the best candy creations of all time: Pop Rocks.

From cookies and cupcakes to popcorn and ice cream sandwiches, scroll down for a comprehensive list of 4th of July desserts that pack a major flavor explosion. Just be sure to eat these sugar-filled treats in moderation, otherwise you may be seeing stars. (And not just 50 of them.)

Firecracker Cupcakes

Nellie Bellie

The addition of cinnamon, cloves, and hot sauce set these spicy cupcakes on fire. Can your taste buds handle the heat, or do you need to get out of the kitchen? Get the recipe.

Firecracker Popcorn

Spicy Southern Kitchen

Since kernels essentially explode during the popcorn cooking process, a firecracker popcorn is nothing short of thematically appropriate. Frankly, it’s also fun to eat. Get the recipe.

Pop Rocks Martini

Bite Me More

We’ll be sipping on one of these as we huddle under the blankets and wait for fireworks to start. So much classier than a flask or a re-purposed water bottle. Get the recipe.

Pop Rocks Cookie Pops

She Knows

Katy Perry may sing “Firework,” but these cookie pops are the star. Dip one side in chocolate for added decadence. Get the recipe.

Pop Rocks Ice Cream Sandwiches

Studio DIY

A taste combination so complexly delicious that it will have you standing up to salute the nearest American flag. #TeamUSA. Get the recipe.

Firecracker Margarita

As the Bunny Hops

If you’re not sipping rosé, chances are you’re sipping a margarita. Give your favorite summer bev a holiday kick with a Pop Rocks-lined rim. Go even crazier by mixing it with salt. Get the recipe.

Pop Rocks Cherry Bombs

Frosting and a Smile

These vodka-soaked cherries provide the best of so many worlds: cherries, liquor, white chocolate, and candy. Can we celebrate our country’s independence every day? Get the recipe.

Pop Rocks Mousse

1 Fine Cookie

Red, white, and boo-yah to this fun take on a fancy classic. These layers aren’t anything less than lovely. Get the recipe.

Fire Cracker Rice Krispies Treats

The Sweet Chick

Snap, crackle, pop takes on a whole new meaning with these Pop Rock-heavy treats. We are eternally grateful for marshmallows. Get the recipe.

Pop Rocks Brownie Bites

Recipe Girl

They may just be bites, but they pack a huge punch. That being said, it’s difficult to mess up chocolate. You can put mayonnaise on it and we’ll probably still eat it. Get the recipe.

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https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184445/red-white-blue-pop-rocks-recipes/feed/ 0 Chowhound Header Image firecracker-popcorn-chowhound firecracker-cupcakes-chowhound firecracker-popcorn-chowhound pop-rocks-martini-chowhound pop-rocks-cookie-pops-chowhound pop-rocks-ice-cream-sandwiches-chowhound firecracker-margarita-chowhound cherry-bombs-chowhound pop-rocks-mousse-chowhound firecracker-rice-krispies-chowhound pop-rocks-brownie-bites-chowhound https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184426/matcha-green-tea-guide/ https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/184426/matcha-green-tea-guide/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 15:53:47 +0000

https://www.chowhound.com/?p=184426

If your morning brew is in need of a green upgrade, look no further than the beverage industry’s latest trend: matcha green tea powder. The super healthy, super caffeinated drink has been creeping its way into cafés across the country, but consumers can now enjoy the Japanese export within the comforts of their own home.

Curious about the tea and its amazing healthy properties? We’re here to answer any questions you may have about its history, preparation, and nutritional value.

What is matcha? 

Matcha is a powdered green tea. Produced primarily in Japan, its leaves are deprived of sunlight during the last few weeks of growth, resulting in a brilliant green color that carries increased chlorophyll content.

Where did matcha come from?

Preparation of powdered teas stem from China’s Tang Dynasty (618-907), though matcha was specifically prized by Japan’s Zen monasteries and social elites during the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.

How is matcha prepared?

Whole leaves (after the shaded growth process) are carefully hand-picked and rolled out to dry. Once this is achieved, stems and veins are removed before the remaining leaf is stone-ground into a fine powder. Only half a teaspoon is necessary to brew a cup of matcha. Since matcha powder is stirred directly into water or milk (as opposed to strained through a tea bag), its taste is more potent than traditional teas.

What are matcha’s health benefits?

Matcha boasts a bevy of proven health benefits. For starters, matcha contains high levels of L-Theanine, an amino acid that balances the tea’s caffeine content. This can help reduce anxiety by inducing calmness without sluggishness. L-Theanine is also healthy for your brain, promoting increased levels of focus and concentration.

Matcha also carries an extremely high antioxidant content. Its polyphenol count (cancer-fighting micronutrients) is said to be 60x that of spinach. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a specific type of polyphenol, has also been proven to help with weight loss by burning stored fat as energy and inhibiting the formation of new fat cells.

How do I make matcha? 

Aside from mixing it into water or milk, matcha can be incorporated into a variety of sweet and savory recipes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites below.

Raspberry Matcha Muffins

Chowhound

If you’re not a fan of sipping from mugs, get your morning pick-me-up from this quick and delicious breakfast confection. Or at least save this recipe for Christmas. Get our Raspberry Matcha Muffins recipe.

Matcha Hong Kong Egg Waffles

Chowhound

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to make drool-worthy egg waffles in your own kitchen. In fact, all you need is some time, patience, and a little self-confidence . You can do it!Get our Matcha Hong Kong Egg Waffles recipe.

Matcha Chicken Tenders with Ginger Citrus

Chowhound

Matcha’s versatility extends to crunchy chicken fingers, which makes it nothing less than a superfood to us. This is also a fun way to sneak “greens” into your kids’ diet. Get the recipe.

Matcha Green Tea Popsicles

Feeding Your Beauty

Summer has arrived and you’ve just found yourself a new favorite popsicle. Matcha and cream are a match made in hot weather heaven. Get the recipe.

Matcha Molten Lava Cakes

Kirbie Cravings

These may look like a dessert out of a Dr. Seuss book, but we promise they’re quite delicious. You may even forget that molten lava cakes taste best with chocolate. Get the recipe.

Matcha Banana Bread

Fearless Dining

It may not be green eggs and ham, but we’re sure this matcha banana bread was served as a sweet side to Sam’s famous breakfast. Get the recipe.

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This common wisdom rings true: Don’t get a kitchen tool that has only one use. Three uses at minimum is a good standard for taking up space in your drawer. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with one of those most hated, useless kitchen tools. Enter the melon baller, whose name belies its versatility. 

The French tool’s advertised use is to scoop out perfect little balls of cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew for fruit salads. But you can justify a melon baller easily. First, you get to say “baller.” That’s enough reason. Then you have the more mature reasons — other food uses.

1. Make cute balls with almost any firm fruit or vegetable — or ice cubes.

Laylita

What a perfect summer drink. You could have just seltzer and fresh mint, and woo-la: a healthy, colorful, breezy beverage that doesn’t get more refreshing. Get the recipe.

2. Hollow out food to stuff it with other food.

FoodieCrush

Loaded twice-baked potatoes can be adorable as well as decadent. Typically a heavy, saturated dish, when you use little red potatoes, not so much. Get the recipe.

3. Core fruit such as apples, pears, and quince.

Lazy Sunday Cooking

Remove not only the seeds and core, but also the flesh from inside the quince in this recipe inspired by Sami Tamimi’s and Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook. Get the recipe.

4. Scoop cookie dough from the batter bowl to the baking pan.

Chowhound

For your classic cookies to any kind that call for scooping the batter with a spoon, a melon baller provides a precise measurement that’s sometimes easier to use than a teaspoon. Get our Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

5. Remove the icky bits from tomatoes, seeds from cucumbers, and stringy bits from winter squash and artichokes.

Simply Scratch

Salsa and pico de gallo are arguably better when you take out the icky, jelly-like center with all those seeds. Then when you dice them, you don’t end up with swampy mush. Get the recipe.

6. Create cavities in cupcakes for surprise fillings.

Easy Baked

Seriously, this is the coolest thing you can do to a cupcake. Everyone expects the sweet frosting on top. But an extra surprise filling inside? Gasp. Get the recipe.

7. Scoop a palate-cleansing sorbet ball for each dinner guest.

Jenni Kayne

A refreshing tidbit in between courses of a big meal would be perfectly presented using one scoop of a melon baller. You could stick with summer season flavors, like this watermelon-lemonade flavor sorbet. Get the recipe.

8. Make chocolate truffles.

Chowhound

Chocolate truffles almost require a melon baller. When you try to form the chocolatey balls with your hands, your warmth melts the chocolate too much. So the less you touch them the better. Get our Charles Chocolates Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles recipe.

9. Gouge the remaining eye bits of a whole pineapple.

A Lot of Recipes

When you’ve mastered slicing off all the rough parts surrounding that super-sweet golden flesh, there are always those little bits, or eyes, remaining. Gouge out those suckers with a melon baller, and then create something crazy savory-sweet, like this recipe.

— Head photo: Wikihow.

Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She’s trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.

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https://www.chowhound.com/?p=184385

There’s a reason why we frequently say “this tastes like chicken.” For carnivores, the mild meat has perhaps the most commonly recognized flavor and texture in the world. In fact, nearly eight billion chickens are consumed each year in the U.S. alone. While this may be bad news for our poultry friends, the protein-packed food isn’t leaving supermarket shelves and restaurant menus any time soon.

Since you’re probably cooking chicken tonight and you may have questions, we’ve created this helpful chicken food safety guide with selection, storage, and cooking tips, as well as a variety of recipes.

How to Select Chicken

If you’re searching for a whole chicken, you’ll first want to ensure that its round breast is pliable to the touch. This indicates that the chicken is young and the meat will be more tender. When purchasing cuts of chicken, the color of its skin has no bearing on freshness or nutritional value. Instead, look at its flesh to ensure it is pink with limited amounts of white striping.

How to Store Chicken

Raw or cooked chicken can be stored in a refrigerator for a few days after its sell-by date, though it’s important to prevent raw chicken juices from leaking and contaminating other foods. Ensure that chicken remains in its original packaging (which should be vacuum-sealed or tightly-wrapped) until it is ready to be cooked.

How to Freeze Chicken 

While freezing will make your chicken less tender and juicy, it is the perfect way to store the family-sized pack you bought at Costco last weekend. Remove the chicken from its original packaging and rewrap it tightly using aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Double wrap if you are planning to store the chicken for more than two months. Ground chicken can last up to three months in the freezer, while chicken pieces can last up to nine.  

How to Thaw Chicken

You should never thaw chicken at room temperature, as it is highly susceptible to bacteria growth. Frozen chicken should be defrosted in the microwave, refrigerator, or a bowl of cold water (which should be changed every 30 minutes).

How to Cook Chicken

Chicken’s flavor may be one-noted, but it’s a sponge for complex seasonings, marinades, and sauces. We’ve rounded up eight of the most common ways to prepare and cook poultry, along with drool-worthy recipes that deserve spots on your rotating dinner menu.

Fried: Tatsutage Fried Chicken with Spicy Yuzu Mayonnaise

Chowhound

Grilled: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Rosemary Marinade

Chowhound

Roasted: Basic Whole Roasted Chicken

Chowhound

Baked: Baked Cracker-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Chowhound

Braised: Braised Tunisian Chicken Thighs

Chowhound

Poached: Poached Chicken and Pomegranate Orzo

Chowhound

Broiled: Easy Broiled Chicken Breasts

Chowhound

Burger: Chicken Cordon Bleu Burger

Chowhound

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https://www.chowhound.com/?p=184324

While both desserts are dairy-based, decadent, and a total thrill to find on any menu, cheesecake and tiramisu are very different. Both desserts are easy to customize; you can make a number of substitutions and variations (like the addition of fruit, changing the cookie base, etc.) to the master recipe to suit your taste. But some basic differences remain.

Tiramisu, an Italian standby, usually contains very few ingredients: ladyfinger biscuits, egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone, and cocoa powder (and often a liqueur for flavoring, like brandy, cognac, or coffee-flavored liqueurs like Kahlua). There are now many varieties of tiramisu and lots of different takes—but the traditional Italian tiramisu consists of briefly dipping the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture, placing them in a single layer and spreading the mascarpone cream over them, and repeating the process until you sprinkle the top layer with cocoa powder. Served chilled and cut into wedges or small squares, tiramisu is an incredibly rich dessert, but the light and airy texture is what makes it so special.

Cheesecake, on the other hand, has a much denser texture, and has a base of crushed cookies (often graham crackers) with a thick layer that’s made from cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and any flavoring you want to add in on top. There are many schools of thought when it comes to making the best cheesecake—New York Style cheesecake incorporates cream, other cheesecakes contain ricotta, and many recipes recommend using cream cheese or even Neufchatel cheese. The Cheesecake Factory has over 30 different types of cheesecake, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to thinking up new additions to or variations on the classic recipe.

Check out our 7 recipes for tiramisu and cheesecake and you’ll have no excuse not to serve dessert tonight.

1. Classic Cheesecake

Chowhound

Our basic cheesecake recipe is a no-frills win every time. Try and make it the day ahead so you have time to leave it in the refrigerator overnight. And don’t use any low-fat cream cheese! Get our Classic Cheesecake recipe.

2. Tiramisu

Chowhound

The classic Italian dessert, our recipe for tiramisu is only as good as the ingredients you use—be sure to get crisp ladyfingers so that they’ll hold up to the quick dunk in hot coffee. Also, make sure to refrigerate for several hours before serving, so that the flavors have time to meld. Get our Tiramisu recipe.

3. Orange-Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake

Chowhound

This is an adult rendition of the classic summertime treat, the Creamsicle, with a glaze made from orange marmalade and vodka. Use the best quality ricotta cheese you can find, and you can substitute your favorite type of cookie for the pecan shortbread in the crust. Get our Orange-Vanilla Ricotta Cheesecake recipe.

4. Tiramisu Crepe Cake

Butter And Brioche

The flavors of a traditional tiramisu are reinvented here with an elegant, layered set of French crepes that are doused in espresso syrup, and smothered in tiramisu-flavored mascarpone (with Kahlua and cocoa). Get the recipe.

5. Lemon Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars

Kristine’s Kitchen

A great pick if you’re looking for a light and summery dessert, these cheesecake bars are made from full fat Greek yogurt, with fresh lemon zest, and topped with seasonal fresh berries. Get the recipe.

6. Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Chowhound

A portable and easy-to-make dessert, these chocolate cheesecake bars are great served in small squares in a packed lunch or at a picnic. You can use semisweet chocolate chips or substitute your favorite chocolate. Get our Chocolate Cheesecake Bars recipe.

7. Tiramisu Layer Cake with Ombré Mascarpone Frosting

Eat Love Eat

If you love the flavors of tiramisu but are looking for a more impressive end to a big meal, this tiramisu layer cake with ombré mascarpone frosting is the way to go. Each layer is a different cake flavor—chocolate, vanilla, coffee—and the homemade coffee syrup really takes it to the next level. Get the recipe.

— Head photo illustration by Chowhound, using: Alice Bakes a Cake/Kitchen Joy.

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https://www.chowhound.com/?p=184327

Open your kitchen drawer. Glare at that [insert useless piece of crap here] tool. Grab it. Toss it. Belt out a victory scream and pump your fist in the air. Try to high-five your cat. Give up on that too. Woo-hoo!

What freedom, what space … now what will you do with all that room in your kitchen drawer? Please don’t buy more junk — especially this banana slicer:

Amazon

True, there are so many times you’ve been slicing your banana with a plain ol’ knife, and bemoaned the drudgery, the time, the struggle it takes to slog through the dauntless task. You’ve prayed to the heavens for an answer, and while online shopping at 1 a.m., you see this glorious piece of crap in all its yellow, banana-shaped glory, and it looks like the solution to your life’s biggest problem.

Sure, that’s what happens.

Or your friends/family give you this junk as a joke or because they know you love to cook. There’s a statute of limitations on how long you have to keep gifts you don’t like.

In the world of pointless kitchen gadgets, single-food-specific slicers comprise a huge share. Many non-banana foods that have slicers (other than knives) crafted specifically for them:

  • Strawberries
  • Eggs
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Corn
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwi

AliExpress

Just use a knife, people. Take a knife skills class if it’s so hard, or watch an instructional video like the rest of us. Mango-slicing techniques aren’t intuitive. We get it.

This brings home another rule: Avoid tools that have one use only. Joseph Joseph, Fred, and Chef’d are guilty of many of these gadgets. Some of them are funny. But efficient? Often, no. More helpful than the traditional way? Nada.

Although, our informal, unscientific survey (via Twitter and Facebook) reveals that this cliché holds true: One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Our survey showed these items had both lovers and haters: egg slicer, cherry pitter, apple slicer, garlic smasher, corn cutter, corn-on-the-cob skewer handles, and yes, that mango slicer.

Amazon

Eggs get the most votes for stupidity. You’ve got your egg slicer, cooker, sheller, poacher, and separator for starters.

Other hated items: Pickle forks, avocado storage containers, spiralizers, citrus zesters that aren’t made by Microplane, DeLonghi espresso makers, silicone baking forms, turkey basters, pizza stones, Foreman grills, Keurig coffee makers, cast iron grill pans, and baby spoons.

Then again, some people think any utensils, smoke alarms, and ovens (it’s not just for shoe storage, you know) are useless. Oh, and exes. Those can be useless tools too.

We love our friends.

— Head image: LiveByDesigns.

Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She’s trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.

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