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How to Cook

The Difference Between Pepitas & Pumpkin Seeds

What are pepitas, really? And are they any different from regular ol’ pumpkin seeds? Food writer Ali Slagle finds out.
I had this (not brilliant at all) idea to try to shell the pumpkin seeds that were being excavated from our many, many carved pumpkins around the office—the thinking being that hulling the seeds would produce something more workable and multipurpose, namely pepitas (“little seed of squash” in Spanish). Because pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds, right? Read More >> …

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The Difference Between Pepitas & Pumpkin Seeds

What are pepitas, really? And are they any different from regular ol’ pumpkin seeds? Food writer Ali Slagle finds out.
I had this (not brilliant at all) idea to try to shell the pumpkin seeds that were being excavated from our many, many carved pumpkins around the office—the thinking being that hulling the seeds would produce something more workable and multipurpose, namely pepitas (“little seed of squash” in Spanish). Because pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds, right? Read More >> …

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How to Make Vegetable Stock Without a Recipe

We love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll make your favorite dishes a lot more often. Here, we show you how to make soups and stews more flavorful with whatever vegetable scraps you have on hand—or the cheapest produce at the market.
If you’re not already making your own vegetable stock, you should start now. Read More >> …

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How to Make Vegetable Stock Without a Recipe

We love recipes—but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don’t always need a recipe, you’ll make your favorite dishes a lot more often. Here, we show you how to make soups and stews more flavorful with whatever vegetable scraps you have on hand—or the cheapest produce at the market.
If you’re not already making your own vegetable stock, you should start now. Read More >> …

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The Best Substitute for Cake Flour and Self-Rising Flour in Baking

A lot of us keep a gargantuan container of all-purpose flour in our pantry—a near-lifetime supply, if you’re anything like our Test Kitchen. All-purpose flour is the faithful old floury friend that we lean on for pancakes, muffins, and everything in between. More devoted bakers might even have a few wildcards in their baking arsenals, like whole wheat pastry flour or almond flour or spelt flour. But only in the most organized and well-stocked of home pantries have we found a bag of the self-rising variety, or ultra-soft cake flour, resplendent in its old-school packaging.
If you don’t bake a whole lot, or didn’t plan quite so far ahead (*raises hand*), you might get tripped up on a recipe that calls for one of these somewhat uncommon, vaguely esoteric flours. Should you take another trip to the grocery store to pick them up? No, we say happily. As it turns out, both cake flour and self-rising flour…

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The Best Substitute for Cake Flour and Self-Rising Flour in Baking

A lot of us keep a gargantuan container of all-purpose flour in our pantry—a near-lifetime supply, if you’re anything like our Test Kitchen. All-purpose flour is the faithful old floury friend that we lean on for pancakes, muffins, and everything in between. More devoted bakers might even have a few wildcards in their baking arsenals, like whole wheat pastry flour or almond flour or spelt flour. But only in the most organized and well-stocked of home pantries have we found a bag of the self-rising variety, or ultra-soft cake flour, resplendent in its old-school packaging.
If you don’t bake a whole lot, or didn’t plan quite so far ahead (*raises hand*), you might get tripped up on a recipe that calls for one of these somewhat uncommon, vaguely esoteric flours. Should you take another trip to the grocery store to pick them up? No, we say happily. As it turns out, both cake flour and self-rising flour…

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash: A Noodle-y, Saucy Love Story

According to specialtyproduce.com, the first known record of spaghetti squash was made in 1850. A short 163 years later, I made my own first record of it in a crowded restaurant in downtown Manhattan, in the form of an iPhone note. Yes, I was a little behind the curve (the low-carb craze had hit the U.S. many years earlier), and yes, I was already several decades into my life—both facts featured prominently in my note. But most important, as outlined in all caps, was a single question: “WHY HAVE I NEVER HAD THIS BEFORE?” Read More >> …

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The Best Vanilla Extract Substitute Is Probably Hiding in Your Kitchen

By now, you’ve probably been told once or twice to make your own vanilla extract. (One of those times may or may not have been by us.) Recipes tell you how easy-breezy it is to DIY the solution, which is essentially just vanilla pods soaked in alcohol. Just buy vanilla beans, split down the center, stuff in a jar, drown in booze (most people use vodka; bourbon is fair game, too). But what if I told you that I have an even easier method for homemade extract: You just, well, skip the vanilla. Read More >> …

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The Best Way to Soften Butter, Fast

As someone constantly in need of softened butter, whether it’s to bake chocolate chip cookies or make a herb butter—or just for easier spreading on toast (more on that later)—there are usually two options. You can either leave the stick on the counter and wait, which I never have the foresight to do ahead of time, or you can stick it in the microwave and end up with melted butter instead, which could give cakes, for instance, a completely different texture than you want. As it turns out though, there is a better, faster way. Read More >> …

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The Best Cornstarch Substitutes for Cooking & Baking

The Food52 Hotline has been around for over nine years, so it’s no surprise that some of the most common cooking questions have come up again and again. How to substitute cornstarch is one of them (see, for instance, this thread from 2012 or this one from 2015). Today, we’ll be tackling this topic once and for all! Your pudding can thank you later. Cornstarch FAQ
Before we start substituting cornstarch, let’s get to know it a bit, shall we? Here are a handful of questions we see all the time about the ingredient. Read More >> …

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The Best Heavy Cream Substitutes for Cooking & Baking

There are thousands of recipes on our site that call for heavy cream, like penne alla vodka and creamed greens and frozen honey mousse. But do you actually need the cream? Can you replace it with milk? Or coconut milk? Or something else entirely? Today, we’re going to answer those questions and more. But first, an ask-me-anything heavy cream lightning round! Let’s go: Read More >> …

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How to Store Tomatoes So They Stay Plump & Fresh for a Very Long Time

Whether you’ve just bought tomatoes—cherry tomatoes, unripe tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes—at the grocery store, ready to whip up a batch of tomato sauce or a fresh summer salad, it’s important to know how to store tomatoes and to understand the tomato ripening process. There’s lots of talk out there about ethylene gas, paper bags and plastic bags, and how to stop the tomato ripening process—but contrary to popular belief, the answer isn’t necessarily to never refridgerate tomatoes. Read on to see why.
If you want to get a room full of tomato lovers fired up, announce to everyone that you put them in the fridge, and watch the vitriol flow. After all, refrigerating tomatoes is an absolute no-no—right? Read More >> …

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How to Brine Meat (& Why You Should Bother)

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today: Why you should start brining your meat—and how to start. Read on for how to brine chicken, turkey, pork chops, and more.
Have you ever suffered the travesty that is a dry, tasteless chicken breast? Or tried to cut into a pork chop, only to be rewarded with a bicep workout and a rumbling stomach? Or chewed your way through a turkey that tastes like it might’ve been made out of sand?  Read More >> …

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The 5 French Mother Sauces Every Cook Should Know

The five French mother sauces are: Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise, and Tomato. Read on to learn how to make each one.

In the 19th century, Marie-Antoine Carême anointed Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, and tomato sauce as the building blocks for all other sauces in his work L’Art de la Cuisine Française au Dix-Neuvième Siecle. Later on, Hollandaise got added to the family. Since then, many people consider others sauces—sweet and savory from all around the world—as unofficial extended relatives of these five sauces. Read More >> …

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Roasting a Chicken Like Laurie Colwin, in Memoriam

If time travel were possible, and I could somehow hop back as my current self to the early 1990s, I would like to have met Laurie Colwin at a party somewhere. Or even better, drop into her book-filled garden apartment in Chelsea for supper one night. Once we got to chatting, I think we both would have been delighted by how many things we had in common. I wish I could remember what it was, this past February, that made me go find my copy of More Home Cooking. Maybe it was because I had been kicking around a few essays about life and food, making a general mess of things, which is what I like to do in early drafts (and in the kitchen), and I was craving inspiration from her clear, intimate, and comforting voice. Read More >> …

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I Thought I Hated Bubble Tea—Until I Made It at Home

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! All month long we’ll be sharing recipes, stories, and long reads to celebrate the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who make America what it is today. Here’s an unpopular opinion: I hate bubble tea. Or at least, I used to. Read More >> …

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The Best Granola I Ever Made Happened by Mistake

I never make granola the same way twice. Nekisia Davis’s Olive Oil and Maple Granola is my default starting point, but the specifics depend on whatever I have in the house, and however creative (or, ahem, not creative) I’m feeling that day. Sunflower seeds often make way for salted peanuts. If I run out of pecans, walnuts are ready to swoop in. Maybe the light brown sugar gets supplemented with some dark. Or the maple syrup gets swapped out for molasses. Read More >> …

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12 Big, Hearty Salads That Hold Their Own As Dinner

If left to my own devices (and sporadic grocery shopping habits), I’d probably make some sort of lazy, one-pot pasta for dinner every night of the week. But I live with a Weeknight Pasta Shamer. Read More >> …

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Why Ina Garten Loves Melting Vanilla Ice Cream (Yes, on Purpose)

Crème anglaise is a sweet custard sauce, which is to say: the best kind of sauce. You can serve it hot, warm, or cold—poured on chocolate cake, bread pudding, fresh fruit, and oh-so much more. The only catch is making it. Read More >> …

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The Internet Says This Will Be the Best Broccoli of Your Life

With Genius Recipes correspondent Kristen off for a few months trying to raise a genius newborn, we’re revisiting the column’s Greatest Hits with brand-new videos—and hearing from a few special surprise guests. Wish her luck! (And keep sending those tips.) In November 2008, Adam Roberts published a blog post with the headline “The Best Broccoli of Your Life”, about a recipe from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. He promised that at least one person liked the broccoli more than steak. Read More >> …

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Our New Wooden Spoons Are Ready to Make You a Better Cook

What do you get when you combine the Food52 team’s decades of stirring experience, intel from our community of home cooks about their trustiest kitchen tool, and a healthy dose of elbow grease? That’s an easy one: the world’s most perfect wooden spoons. That’s right, we’re back with the latest in our Five Two collection, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you in on the action. Read More >> …

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The Key to *Way* Better Roast Chicken Is This One Pantry Ingredient

If I were drafting an all-star team of pantry and larder staples, there are a few jars, bottles, and boxes I’d earmark for first-round picks. Like, I’d toss a jersey over to my Huy-Fong Chili Garlic Sauce right out of the gate. I’d pat my Hungarian paprika on its smooth, metal back and mutter, “Welcome to the team, kid.” I’d wave oven Dijon, which would already be heading my way with a knowing smile. (We’d hug, and I’d have to get that yellow stain out of my best athletic hoodie.) And then I’d lock eyes with my smoked salt, nod once, and say gruffly, “You didn’t think I was really gonna leave you on the bench, did you?” Read More >> …

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A 30-Second Trick for Way, Way Better Guacamole

Guacamole is like chili: Everyone has their own secret, best-ever recipe. And I’m not here to mess with that. Go ahead and keep making guac your favorite way—I’m sure it’s excellent. Read More >> …

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16 Pantry Staples Our Test Kitchen Never Wants to Be Without

Let’s be real: This isn’t the most inspiring time of year when it comes to fresh ingredients. But when the produce aisle is lacking, the pantry saves the day. (Go, pantry, go!) In the latest episode of Dear Test Kitchen, our test kitchen chef Josh Cohen shows us how to use fridge and shelf staples to spruce up any dish, no matter how simple. Take, for instance, a pot of white beans, cooked with water and salt. Sounds—what’s the word—boring, right? Not so with a few easy-peasy additions. Read More >> …

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How to Cook Fish Like an Alaskan Fisherman

Did you know that Alaska has 34,000 miles of coastline? Did you know that sustainable fishing laws were actually written into Alaska’s constitution in 1959? That all Alaskan fishing boats have to be built in America (see: sustainability)? That it’s bad luck to change the name of a boat? My chance to travel to this amazing state came via an invitation from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). My goal was to learn all about their sustainable fishing industry as well as the plentiful seafood that comes from their waters. From the moment my plane landed in Anchorage, I started most conversations with the same question, “So, how do you cook your fish?” Read More >> …

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