Cooking Tips rss

Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.

The Great Enhancer—in a Squeeze Tube

Conveniently packaged in a tube that keeps well in the fridge, anchovy paste is a secret weapon for deepening the flavor of all kinds of dishes. While it's a classic addition to salad dressings, anchovy paste enhances everything from wilted greens to tomato sauce, even mashed potatoes.

The Sap Is Running! Prepare for Maple Syrup Season

March is just about time for the maple sap to begin to run, and 'hounds are sharing their favorite ways to use maple syrup, from traditional to surprising. Get inspired for late-winter cooking with these savory dishes, cocktails, and of course desserts, from candied sweet potatoes to pecan pie.

What’s Your Favorite Olive Oil Dispenser?

What's the best way for home cooks to dispense olive oil in an easy and tidy way? Find out time-tested solutions, from sturdy sprayers to cheap squeeze bottles. Learn what works best for 'hounds with kitchen habits like yours.

Baklava Tips for First-Timers

Sticky, sweet baklava—spiced nuts layered with phyllo dough and drenched with syrup—is a favored dessert in Greece and all over the Middle East. Depending on the region, walnuts or pistachios may be the filling of choice, but Chowhounds use all kinds of nuts, alone or in combination. See their favorite baklava fillings, along with suggestions for flavoring the syrup and tips on assembly.

Make Your Own Smoked Sriracha!

What’s even better than barrel-aging Sriracha? Smoking it. This is my sixth attempt at a smoked Sriracha in the style of Huy Fong Foods’ rooster sauce. This time, I was trying to make a sauce with a little less sugar and a bit more natural sweetness (I used a small amount of dark brown sugar and a cooked carrot). I’ve been playing around with my stovetop hot smoker—it’s such an easy way to make all kinds of things taste more interesting, with greater depth to the flavor. The maple chips I used added a smoky-sweet taste perfect for this sauce. READ MORE

Butter Plus Soy Equals Obsession

Who knew? Two pantry fixtures—salty, umami-rich soy sauce and creamy butter—marry to make a condiment Chowhounds just can't resist. Whether simply dressing a bowl of steamed rice, livening up popcorn or steamed vegetables, or used as a baste for roasted chicken, fish, or steak, this easy combination is much more than the sum of its parts.

Rice-Cooker Rice Without the Crunch

The crunchy crust that forms as rice cooks is highly desired in some cuisines, but not everyone is a fan. If you just want uniform, uncrusted white rice from your rice cooker, get recommendations for rice cookers at all price points that will turn out perfect rice without the crust. Great for sushi!

The Best Grinder for Indian Spices

It’s easy: Buying whole and grinding as needed is the best way to get the most flavor out of your spices. Not so easy: Finding the right grinder. Popular solutions include a blade-type electric coffee grinder and an old-fashioned mortar and pestle like my Indian aunts still use. I wanted to find the best, most efficient grinder—especially for Indian cooking, lush with spices—so I put these two types to the test along with a third, an electric grinder designed specifically for spices. Which would hold up to the daily grind of my kitchen? READ MORE

What to Cook in Cast Iron

You've gone through all the hassle and troubleshooting involved in seasoning your cast iron—now what should you cook in it that will really shine? Find out the tastiest things you can make in cast-iron cookware, from clam cakes to soda bread. READ MORE

Is Smoked Brisket Technically Pastrami?

What distinguishes pastrami from corned beef? It's all about smoke. Both deli favorites begin with brining brisket with spices and curing salt, but while corned beef is then simmered or roasted, pastrami is soaked, given a spice rub, and smoked. Corned beef is good, Chowhound FoodFire says, but "the smoke adds a ton of flavor" to pastrami. Hounds have tips to share on efficient brining, using the right curing salts, and which woods in the smoker help deliver perfect pastrami.