The CHOW Blog rss

Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Make Your Own Worm Compost

Play Video

Reuse your kitchen scraps for good. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Collect Your Own Mussels

By Iso Rabins

Iso Rabins of forageSF is guest blogging for us every once in a while. Read his last post on his underground restaurant. Follow him on Twitter @forageSF.

I love mussel foraging. Gets you up early, on the beach, feet wet ... lunch always tastes great after foraging. Mussel season is open in Northern California from November to April, after which there is a danger of toxins being present in their flesh. Check with your local fish and game department for the season in your area.


How to Grow Your Own Mushrooms

Play Video

They do grow on trees. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Preserve Lemons

Play Video

A quick and easy method. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Pollinate Indoor Citrus

Play Video

Birds do it. Bees do it. You do it. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Maximizing Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap for having little nutritional content or flavor, but its cool, crunchy texture is perfect shredded for sandwiches or served in wedges with a creamy dressing (as in Iceberg Wedges with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Buttermilk Dressing).

According to hounds, iceberg works surprisingly well in hot preparations. chowser likes it stir-fried. "My mom used to do it," she says, "and it was odd at first bite but there's something about it that's addicting." "ANY lettuce is good with chicken broth, chopped onion, and some curry powder in lettuce soup," according to blue room. "Iceberg keeps its crunch much better than others in hot liquid."

Hounds have a couple of nifty tips for prepping iceberg. greygarious explains how to remove the core from the head easily, making it easier to separate the leaves or break into sections: "Hold the head in both hands, core side down, and give it one solid bash onto the counter. Turn it over, twist the core, and it pops right out."

After she removes the core, janniecooks holds the head under the tap, cored side up, and fills it with cold water, letting the water run between the leaves. Then she drains it, cored side down, in a colander for half an hour. Store it in a plastic bag with a folded paper towel under the cored end to absorb any remaining water. Change the paper towel the next day, "and you'll find the lettuce keeps for at least two weeks, staying wonderfully crispy and fresh," she says.

Discuss: Tip for the iceberg

A Tip on Growing Blueberries

Play Video

One variety isn't enough. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

As Seen on TV: The Screwups

Poorly cracked eggs, uncuttable brownies, frying pan mishaps, and a host of other home cookery screwups adorn this charming video montage. It's a collection of all those moments in As Seen on TV product spots when the protagonist just can't seem to execute a simple frickin' task that we all manage every day effortlessly.

Celebrate Springtime with Sorrel

Tart, citrusy sorrel is a springtime delicacy that can be used to flavor dishes or as a vegetable.

"It's delicious used raw, as an herb, any place you want a fresh sour tang," says eight_inch_pestle. LNG212 recommends sorrel frittata. "There's something about the slightly sourish/lemonish flavor that really works well with eggs." eight_inch_pestle loves it in scrambled eggs: "Stir in a bit toward the end with a little cream cheese and smoked salmon and go find your running shorts, because you're about to overeat."

Sorrel makes a great sauce for salmon, says GretchenS. Sauté chopped onion or shallot and a bit of minced garlic, then add lots of sorrel (it shrinks when cooked) and heat until it breaks down into a paste. "It will turn a sort of muddy color," she says, "but you won't care once you taste it with your salmon—that is one of the great pleasures of spring for me!"

Sorrel is also delicious in hot or chilled cream soup or puréed as a side dish.

Discuss: Masses of sorrel

Better Than Quaker: Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Chewy granola bars are simple to make from scratch and accommodate an endless variety of mix-ins. Once you try them, you'll never go back to store-bought.

lilmomma offers a simple formula: Combine 3 cups rolled oats, 4 cups assorted mix-ins (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, dried coconut, wheat germ, or flax meal), and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Press into a greased pan and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Invert onto a baking sheet to cool and set. TIRGL used this recipe and says it's "easy, fast, and delicious. It's now my go-to granola bar."

"I have been making thick, chewy granola bars weekly since I found the recipe," says Becca Porter. "They are absolutely perfect!" She finds that they hold together a bit better made with almond butter instead of peanut butter.

These crispy breakfast bars (described as "crispy-chewy") are made with puffed whole grains instead of oats. LNG212 likes them with puffed kamut and varies the dried fruits, though her favorites are cranberries and blueberries. David Lebovitz's friendship bars eschew grains for nuts and dried fruit. "They're excellent," says katecm, "and they are really adaptable so you never have to make them the same way twice."

Discuss: ISO Chewy Granola Bar Recipe