Alykhan Abdulla has been a doctor in Ottawa for three decades. He invites CBC Ottawa’s Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco into his practice for a day to observe how he manages the workload and burnout that comes with being a family physician in 2023.
The eyes have long been called the “windows to the soul,” and increasingly, evidence is suggesting that they might be also windows to both the brain and body. Several health conditions can be detected by examination of the eyes, among them diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Medical News Today spoke to experts in the field to discover how the eye can reveal the body’s secrets.
Most of us have our eyes tested regularly, but few may be aware that an eye test is not just for checking vision and correcting sight problems.
Because it has a “window” at the front, the eye is the only part of the body where doctors can, non-invasively, examine the inside of an organ. At the back of the eye is the retinaTrusted Source, where blood vessels and the optic nerve can be clearly seen.
If a routine eye test raises concerns, the optometrist can refer a person to a medical ophthalmologist who will investigate by carrying out further eye examinations. If their investigations reveal a systemic disease, they can then refer the person to the relevant specialist.
Dr. Hagar Ibrahim, senior specialist trainee (ST6) in medical ophthalmology at St. Paul’s Eye Unit, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust, in the United Kingdom, told Medical News Today that “a routine eye examination in which the pupils are dilated using eye drops can provide a full and clear view of the optic nerve, which connects to the brain, the retina, […] and all the blood vessels supplying the retina.”
“Therefore, pathology in the eye can be clearly seen during [an] eye examination, both in localized eye conditions and in systemic disease, truly making the eye a window into the rest of the body,” she added.
LynnOct 2008, I was visiting Cayman Islands I stopped in to visit a family friend , an Indian ophthalmologist who was I had met whilst working at the Govt hosp there 1992-95 n We became close family friends . he did a full eye-exam (free of course) n even gave me some free contact lenses. He shared the info above ..n informed me that i was borderline diabetic..at that time it was newly discovered that an ophthalmologist can detect early signs of diabetes whn pupils r dilated so i took it... [ more ]
cainIn my heyday I practiced a little known modality called Iridology, yep, the eyes do give signs of one's health. The darker the eyes the harder it is to read them where lighter eyes are much easier. [ more ]
I was on the hunt for canned pumpkin puree, and so far, it was not going well. After finding the shelf at my go-to grocery store completely cleared of the familiar orange cans, I drove across the street to another major grocer — and again, no luck. Despite the suburban perks of having a car and several large grocery stores within driving distance, a quick errand was turning into a multi-stop scavenger hunt (in the pouring rain, no less). By the time I entered the baking aisle at the third store, my feet were thoroughly soaked and I was peeved. I’d never been more relieved to see cans of pumpkin puree lining the shelf.
America’s collective obsession with everything pumpkin continues to baffle me (I get it, but I don’t get it). Though I’ve come around to appreciating its namesake pie, I’ve found many pumpkin-flavored treats a bit too moist, heavy on the spice, and/or one-dimensional and predictable. So why did I jump on the bandwagon and develop a pumpkin cake for this month’s column? Precisely because I wanted the challenge of creating a version that wasn’t dominated by spices, had a decently structured crumb, and worked in tandem with other flavors for greater nuance — in other words, a cake that would make my search for pumpkin puree worth it.
This pumpkin brown butter whiskey cake fits the bill and then some. During the development process, I deliberately chose to omit the usual cinnamon and spices, and turned to brown sugar and brown butter to channel the same warm, autumnal notes on a cleaner canvas. Instead of using liquified butter, the brown butter is refrigerated until it’s solidified and creamable (a technique I picked up from this recipe), which requires some planning ahead but results in a tighter crumb while maintaining the browned butter’s deep nutty flavor. Unlike other pumpkin-heavy recipes, this cake calls for just half a cup of puree — enough to impart the characteristic earthiness of pumpkin without monopolizing the overall flavor, and perfect for using up any leftover puree you may have in the fridge. Whiskey is the final piece that ties the dessert together, adding just the right amount of edge and depth to both the batter and whipped cream. (I’m a firm believer that sweets are better with a bit of booze; I have yet to be proven wrong.)
“Pumpkin brown butter whiskey cake” may be a mouthful, but with every bite, you’ll realize that each of these ingredients rightfully deserves a place in the recipe’s title. The cozy, subtle flavors play off one another to create a cake that exudes everything I love about fall without relying solely on pumpkin or the classic spices to carry the dish. Like many recipes I develop, this one-layer cake is versatile enough to be a treat to nibble on throughout the week (been there, done that) or a crowd-pleasing, seasonal dessert to share at the dinner table. Regardless of the occasion, I’ll be making it again and again — as long as I remember to keep canned pumpkin puree stocked in my pantry at all times.
Pumpkin Brown Butter Whiskey Cake Recipe
Makes one 8-inch round cake
For the cake:
½ cup (113 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¾ cup (150 grams) light brown sugar 1 large egg, at room temperature ½ cup (120 grams) pure canned pumpkin puree ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey (no need to use top-shelf liquor) ¼ cup whole milk, at room temperature
For the whiskey whipped cream:
¾ cup heavy whipping cream, cold 3 tablespoons powdered sugar 1 tablespoon bourbon or whiskey Pinch of kosher salt
For the topping:
Chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work well), toasted coconut chips (like this one), or crushed gingersnaps
Step 1: Start by browning the butter: Cut the butter into rough chunks and melt in a small or medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking the butter, stirring with a rubber spatula as it foams, until it browns and smells nutty, about 5 to 7 minutes (be sure to stir constantly as the butter begins to brown). Immediately pour the butter, along with the browned bits, into a small heatproof bowl or measuring cup — it’s important to get it out of the pan quickly, or the solids will continue to darken and burn.
Step 2: Refrigerate the butter for 1 to 2 hours, until solidified but soft enough to cream. If your butter is too firm, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature until softened.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with a parchment round, and grease the parchment.
Step 4: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Step 5: Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the brown butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar and cream together until well-combined and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 6: Beat in the egg until incorporated, then scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and beat until combined. The mixture may look slightly curdled at this point, but will come together in the next step.
Step 7: Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl and beat just until combined. Beat in the milk and 2 tablespoons of whiskey. Scrape down the bowl, then beat in the rest of the dry ingredients, taking care not to over-mix.
Step 8: Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula. Lightly drop the pan on the counter one or two times to get rid of any air pockets. Bake the cake for 28 to 32 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until it’s lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 9: Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then gently run a small offset spatula around the edges to loosen. Carefully transfer the cake to a cooling rack.
Step 10: While the cake is cooling, make the whiskey whipped cream: Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, whiskey, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until medium-to-stiff peaks form and it holds its shape. Do not over-whip.
Step 11: When the cake is completely cool, spread the whipped cream on top. For a cleaner look, I like to run a small offset spatula around the top edge of the cake to create an even “wall” of cream and go back to gently smooth the top. Garnish with chopped nuts, coconut chips, or crushed gingersnaps.
Note: If you refrigerate the assembled cake (covered), allow it to soften at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before enjoying.
Joy Cho is a freelance writer, recipe developer, and pastry chef based in New York City. Celeste Noche is a Filipino American food, travel, and portrait photographer based between Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. Recipe tested by Deena Prichep.
Honey Walnut Shrimp is a classic dish from Hong Kong that many Americans know about thanks to Panda Express and many others. The dish is popular at many Chinese restaurants as well. Our version of this slightly sweet dish more closely represents the fast food version. Ones you may find in Hong Kong have very lightly battered shrimp whereas Panda Express has a thicker and heavier coating for that extra crispy bite. We went somewhere in between, using cornstarch and egg to give it a nice and crispy coating. The sugared walnuts are our favorite part and make the dish so unique!
1 c. water 1 c. granulated sugar 1 c. walnuts 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 large eggs, beaten 1 c. cornstarch Vegetable oil for frying 1/4 c. mayonnaise 2 tbsp. honey 2 tbsp. heavy cream Cooked white rice, for serving Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add walnuts and let boil for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove walnuts and let cool on a small baking sheet.
Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place eggs in a shallow bowl and cornstarch in another shallow bowl. Dip shrimp in eggs, then in cornstarch coating well.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1” of oil. Add shrimp in batches and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, honey, and heavy cream. Toss shrimp in sauce. Serve over rice with candied walnuts and garnish with green onions.
This post originally appeared on Delish and was published September 22, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.
I mean, we just got back last week and I’m ready for another trip back!
But until then, I’ll be making the creamiest red beans and rice on the daily.
I’ve done a ton of research and development for this, eating so much red beans and rice every trip to make sure I perfect this for you guys.
Now I really like letting my beans simmer with the andouille sausage (instead of adding it in at the very end) so that it soaks up all the smoky flavors. When ready to serve, be sure to mash up about 1 cup of the softened beans off to the side of the pot – this makes the broth incredibly thick and creamy.
Serve with a scoop of rice, garnished with parsley, and maybe some extra sausage on top. That can’t hurt too much, right?
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Working in batches, add sausage, and cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes; set aside.
Add onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, garlic and Cajun seasoning until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in red beans, chicken stock, hot sauce, bay leaf and sausage; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover; continue to simmer until reduced, an additional 15 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, mash beans until slightly thickened, if desired; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve immediately, topped with rice and garnished with parsley, if desired.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with ½ teaspoon salt. When oil is hot but not smoking, add salmon skin side up. Let sit undisturbed until golden and salmon easily releases from pan, about 4 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula, flip salmon and cook until golden on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Remove to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add remaining tablespoon oil and onion to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.
Stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in lime juice and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
Remove from heat and return salmon to pan. Garnish with basil and Fresno chili, and serve with lime wedges.
This post originally appeared on Delish and was published May 23, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.
The Resort at Paws Up’s executive chef, Sunny Jin, has a serious food-world pedigree (Napa Valley’s French Laundry, Spain’s El Bulli). His latest endeavor: perfecting dishes like this fabulous Hasselback Potato Gratin. Your whole family will love it—and it's the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas too.
Yields: 6 - 8 servings
Total Time: 2 hours 15 mins
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for baking dish 3 medium onions, thinly sliced Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 1/2 c. heavy cream 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary 8 oz. Gruyère, grated (about 2 cups), divided 4 oz. Parmesan, grated (about 1 cup), divided 3 1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 3-quart baking dish. Combine onions, cream, garlic, thyme, rosemary, 1 2/3 cups Gruyère, and 2/3 cup Parmesan in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Arrange potato slices vertically in prepared baking dish. Pour cream mixture over potatoes, making sure some of the mixture goes between the potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake until potatoes start to soften, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake until potatoes are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Gruyère and 1/3 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is golden brown and bubbling, 5 to 10 minutes.
This post originally appeared on Country Living and was published October 29, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.
NPR staff and critics rounded up their favorite reads for the first-ever summer edition of Books We Love. Alongside the best beach reads and books to transport you to other places, we've rounded up the best cookbooks from 2022 so far. So, whether you're looking for exciting dishes to serve at a summer cookout, or something to help you get out of a cooking rut, we've got recommendations for you.
The Art of Pantry Cooking: Meals for Family and Friends by Ronda Carman
If your kitchen pantry has ballooned beyond recognition during the pandemic, you're not alone. It's time to face down those guilt-inducing unused heaps of artichoke hearts and quinoa, and Ronda Carman is here to help. Organized alphabetically from almonds to za'atar, this cookbook is an international romp through 35 tinned and bottled essentials.
If you're like me, you've been yearning to have friends gather once again for dinner. But as we bring loved ones back to our tables, it can be hard to know what to make. Luckily, Colu Henry's cookbook is warm and inviting and will inspire the well-seasoned cook (try the "Crispy Fish with Quick Tomatillo and Jalapeño Confit") and also the neophyte in the kitchen (check out her viral hit "My Cec").
Fix Me a Plate: Traditional and New School Soul Food Recipes from Scotty Scott of Cook Drank Eat by Scotty Scott
Fort Worth personal chef and food blogger Scotty Scott's first cookbook is a blend of traditional family recipes alongside soul food staples, remixed ... Scott lets us in on the stories behind the food and pays homage to his ancestors with what he puts on the plate. This is feel-good food.
Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes from the Matriarch of Edisto Island by Emily Meggett
If you've never heard of Edisto Island, Emily Meggett's cookbook is a great place to start learning. Meggett is the matriarch of the island, which is home to many Gullah Geechee people and the food they've made for generations.
— Wynne Davis, editorial assistant, All Things Considered
Korean American: Food That Tastes Like Home by Eric Kim
Whether it's his mother Jean's napa cabbage kimchi or his homemade milk bread, every recipe is peppered with stories of Kim's childhood in Atlanta and the loved ones who have shaped his life and food. Topped with scrumptious photos shot by Jenny Huang, it's a lovely, warm read — not just as a cookbook but as a memoir accompanied by food.
Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture From My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martínez
With seven sections focused on different regions across the country, Martínez guides you through some of the essential recipes for each. The recipes are vibrant, but what I love most are the stories alongside each of them. Food is deeply personal and with Mi Cocina, Martínez is sharing his life in food and inviting you to come along.
Milk Street: The World in a Skillet by Christopher Kimball
If you, like me, routinely ax recipes that use one pan too many for a weeknight, this book is a godsend. Cook the pasta right in there with the pancetta, chard and beans. Forget about layering phyllo, just crumple it on top for "skillet spanakopita." In other words, Christopher Kimball gleefully breaks rules in the name of simplification.
Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans by Mason Hereford with JJ Goode
Chef Mason Hereford has put to paper some of the magic that draws locals and tourists alike to his popular New Orleans sandwich shop, Turkey and the Wolf. The cookbook is full of amped-up nostalgic recipes accessible to the home cook. There's Hereford's quirky take on a fried bologna sandwich, topped with house made chips, spicy mustard and "shrettuce" (yes, that's just shredded lettuce). He gives us permission to serve caviar on a McDonald's hash brown. The collard melt might be my favorite – a Southern twist on the Reuben.
The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by J. Kenji López-Alt
The Wok's appeal is not innovation; you can find dishes like kung pao shrimp and cumin lamb on many Chinese restaurant menus. But now you don't have to leave your home. As far as I'm concerned, it's worth the sticker price to learn a velveting technique – a way to keep meat tender while searing it — that actually works. It's just one of the gems within these pages.
If you've been searching for the best way to make crispy potatoes, then we've got the method for you. And it involves a condiment that you most likely already have in your fridge: mayonnaise.
Sure, mayo gets a bad rap, but slathering some of that tangy emulsion over your potatoes will give you the crispiest taters of your life. It's the only way you'll want to make potatoes from here on out.
Why Does Mayonnaise Make Potatoes Extra Crispy?
The Allrecipes community is obsessed with our recipe for the Best Potatoes You'll Ever Taste from user XANTHE. They're crazy crispy and flavorful all thanks to the mayo that they're coated in before baking. But why does mayonnaise make potatoes so crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside?
Mayonnaise is an emulsion that's primarily made up of fats (oil and eggs) plus vinegar and seasonings. Because of this, mayo is thick but still easily spreadable. So, unlike butter or oil, the mayo stays on the potatoes instead of sliding off — even after they start cooking.
Mayo also has a higher smoke point than butter or oil meaning you can cook it at a higher temperature without risk of burning the outside before the inside is fully cooked
The fats from the mayo melt into the potatoes and help them crisp up without burning — this is also the same reason people prefer using mayonnaise to make grilled cheese instead of butter. Plus, mayo helps push the Maillard reaction (i.e. the formation of that attractive browning on perfectly-cooked potatoes) along for a perfect golden crust.
While you might taste a little tang from the vinegar in the mayo, mayo haters don't have to worry about these potatoes tasting just like mayonnaise. The real star of the show will be the spices you add to the potatoes. Because mayo is incredibly thick, it acts like glue, adhering the spices and seasonings to your potatoes the entire time they're cooking. Mix all the spices and seasonings together with the mayo and either spoon the mixture over the potatoes or toss the mixture to make sure everything is evenly coated.
More Tricks For Crispy Potatoes
Mayo isn't the only trick for getting crispy roasted potatoes. The Best Potatoes You'll Ever Taste recipe is really on to something for extra crispy potatoes. In addition to coating them in mayonnaise, you also parboil the potatoes for about 10 minutes. This will start the cooking process and ensure the potatoes are tender on the inside. It also speeds up the cooking process so they only need about 10 minutes in the oven to get brown and crunchy.
After the parboiling step, the potatoes in this recipe aren't roasted like most are. Instead, you just broil them for those 10 minutes. This high- and direct-heat method will give them the crispy outside in a snap.
Or you can use this method for the grill, which is what a lot of reviewers like to do. If you grill them, be sure to cook them on a sheet pan so the mayo mixture doesn't seep through the grate.
Don't let any skepticism stop you from using this mayo method. We promise after you try it, you'll understand why they're called the best potatoes you'll ever taste.
Let me walk you through the pleasure of eating this crispy, juicy fried chicken: You’ve got this glistening drumstick with a coating so full of crunchy ripples that it is hard to determine where to hold on. You decide fingertips are best for maneuvering this chicken from the plate to your mouth. As you bring it closer you can smell the spices — garlic, onion, pepper, and even the smoky paprika. That first bite is a real stunner. As you dig in, the crust cracks audibly and reveals juicy chicken that is as flavorful as that irresistible crust. You’ll taste the herbs that made that chicken so fragrant and enjoy a mouthful that is equal parts crispy and juicy. Pieces of the crispy coating fall away.
I’m going to need a bigger stack of napkins, you think to yourself, and then you grab another piece.
The very best part of eating this chicken is that you made it yourself. You didn’t swing by the local KFC, you didn’t fork over 20 bucks at some trendy chicken joint. Nope — you, my friend, made this honest-to-goodness, crispy, juicy, finger-licking delicious chicken at home. Whether you’re a first-time fryer or your skillet is well-seasoned, this is the step-by-step guide for making the very best fried chicken at home.
6 Essential Steps for Crispy, Juicy Fried Chicken
What makes this dish of humble origins so well-loved can actually make it intimidating to home cooks — the coating and frying.
This recipe and technique is a culmination of the little tips I’ve learned over the past 10 years from Alton Brown (IRL, no less) and my friend Erika, partnered with knowledge gleaned from Kitchn’s own editors.
Frying chicken is definitely a weekend cooking project, which is to say you’ll need a couple of hours to accomplish it, but once you’ve got the technique down you can fry more than one batch at a time for family picnics or just to have cold leftovers to eat from the fridge on a whim. Here are the six essential things you need to know about frying this crisp, juicy chicken at home.
1. Buy chicken pieces.
Let’s be real here — everybody wants a drumstick. Avoid arguments over the two you’ll get from buying a whole chicken and breaking it down yourself by just buying the pieces you like best. Personally, I skip the breasts because of their longer cook time, and go straight for a 50/50 split of drumsticks and thighs.
2. Dry brine the chicken for juiciness.
Dry brine (meaning salt) the chicken itself first. You can do this overnight in the fridge or for just 30 minutes before coating and frying the chicken at room temperature. This salting step is critical for moist, flavorful chicken, as it gives the chicken direct contact with the salt. This helps to tenderize it, but also infuses it with flavor.
3. Make a strong spice mixture.
Last year, KFC’s secret spiced blend was reportedly leaked to the public via the Chicago Tribune. KFC uses a lot of spices and a large amount of them. I tried the recipe as written and found it too salty and too strong, so the seasoning mix you’ll find below reflects a lighter touch. Mix the seasoning blend together while the chicken is sitting salted, then put half of the seasoning on the chicken and the other half in the flour coating. Remember that the fat from frying is going to mellow some of the spice flavor and that some of the spices will be left behind in the coating process, so don’t be afraid at the large volume of spice here.
4. Use egg whites, alcohol, and cornstarch for a crispy coating.
The egg white addition is a trick I learned from my favorite tempura recipe. Alton Brown taught me to add bourbon to my buttermilk and egg mixture, although I’m more likely to use vodka, and my friend Erika taught me to use cornstarch in my flour for frying. These seemingly unrelated ingredients come together to make a super-crispy coating on the chicken full of ripples, nooks, and flakes — all the good things we love on fried chicken. Here is what each one does in the batter.
Egg white adds structure in the form of protein. It also helps the flour coating stick to the chicken like culinary glue. Use whole eggs and you’ll have a softer crust because of the yolks’ fat content.
Alcohol evaporates quickly in the frying oil. This sets the coating and creates flaky layers. You often see this ingredient used in pie crust recipes too.
Cornstarch in the flour makes the crust crispier. Cornstarch weakens the all-purpose flour’s protein just enough to make the coating tender.
5. Fry in a Dutch oven.
I know that a cast iron skillet is the icon for Southern fried foods, but its shallow depth makes a mess (and is a fire hazard if you aren’t careful) when frying. Use a Dutch oven instead for frying. The high sides keep splatter to a minimum, while its heft helps to regulate the oil’s temperature as chicken pieces go in and out.
6. Use 2 thermometers!
Use a deep-fry or candy thermometer for the oil and a probe thermometer to monitor the chicken’s internal temperature. You’ll notice that the oil drops in temperature as chicken pieces are added to the pot. You’ll need to monitor the temperature by adjusting the heat as you fry.
The probe thermometer will guarantee that you have juicy chicken that is properly cooked. You can’t just rely on the chicken’s golden-brown coating to determine doneness, as the spice mixture will brown pretty quickly before the chicken is cooked. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of each piece; make sure the thermometer’s not touching bone when taking the temperature for the most accurate reading.
Making Frying Safer and Less Messy
I get it — frying is kind of intimidating. There are all the perils that come along with hot oil: displacement can that result in overflow, the splattering, and then the What the heck do I do with this used oil now? question. And then there’s the mess, right? So let’s address each of those concerns head on.
Prevent overflow by using the Dutch oven. Don’t try to fry in a shallow pan, which can overflow easily. Instead, fry in your Dutch oven.
Set up a proper fry station. At the center of your fry station should be your Dutch oven, half full of oil (save the oil bottle!) and fitted with a deep-fry thermometer. One side should have your pan of prepped and ready-to-fry chicken, while the other side should have a cooling rack set on a baking sheet for draining and cooling the finished chicken. You may also want a plate, small baking sheet, or sheet of foil for resting oily tongs or equipment on while frying.
Pro tip: You can also cover your stovetop around the pot with aluminum foil before frying for an even easier cleanup.
Minimize splattering with the right tools. The Dutch oven’s high sides will reduce the amount of oil that splatters out of the pan, but you can also reduce splashing by using long tongs to lower your chicken into the hot oil. Use another pair of tongs to remove the chicken from the oil, holding the finished chicken over the hot oil for 10 to 15 seconds so excess oil can drip back into the Dutch oven and not all over your stovetop.
Don’t even mess with the hot oil post-frying. Another benefit of the Dutch oven for frying is that after you’ve enjoyed your chicken you can cover the oil with the pot’s lid and let it cool on the back of the stove. I usually do not even deal with the fry oil until the next day. Set a reminder on your phone to move the oil and clean the pot the next day.
What to Do with Used Fry Oil
After your frying oil is cooled to room temperature, set the empty oil bottle (or a large, clean glass jar) in your sink, attach a funnel, and then fit a small strainer inside the funnel. Pour the oil through the strainer back into the bottle. Once strained, the oil can be saved at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator for one more use. Alternatively, you can seal the bottle and throw the whole thing away, or find a local recycling center that takes cooking oil.
Cooling and Serving Fried Chicken
Move your finished fried chicken to a cooling rack set over a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Setting the chicken directly on paper towels (or brown paper) might wick away some excess grease, but it can also create a steamy spot where that crust we worked so hard for gets soggy.
Cool the chicken for at least 10 minutes before serving. Proper cooling sets the crust and ensures that the chicken will have done all its carryover cooking. I like to cool any leftover chicken completely and then store in a paper towel-lined airtight container in the fridge. The paper towel absorbs condensation and keeps that chicken crisp for midnight snacking.
How To Make Crispy, Juicy Fried Chicken (That's Better than KFC)
Salt the chicken. Place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
Make the seasoning blend. Combine the paprika, white pepper, garlic powder, ginger, celery salt, black pepper, mustard, thyme, basil, and oregano in a large bowl.
Season the chicken. Coat the chicken all over with half of the seasoning mixture (about 1/2 cup).
Set up a dredging station. Add the flour, cornstarch, and remaining 1 tablespoon salt to the remaining spice mixture in the bowl and whisk to combine; set aside. Place the buttermilk, egg whites, and alcohol in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Fit a wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet.
Dredge the chicken. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dip in the buttermilk mixture to completely coat, then place in the flour mixture (don't worry about letting any excess buttermilk drain off the chicken first). Shake the flour bowl as needed to completely coat the chicken, then use your fingers to press the flour coating onto the chicken.
Set the coating. Place the coated chicken on the rack and repeat dredging the remaining chicken. Set aside at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes while you set up for frying and heat the oil.
Set up for frying. Place the oil in a large Dutch oven, attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer, and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is 350°F, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the empty baking sheet the chicken was seasoned on. Line this baking sheet with paper towels and fit with a second wire cooling rack; this will be your cooling station.
Fry the chicken. Place 3 pieces of the chicken in the oil and fry, using tongs to rotate the pieces every 3 to 4 minutes and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 325°F, until golden-brown with an internal temperature of 165°F (check by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching bone), 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the rack on the second baking sheet. Make sure the oil comes back up to 350°F before frying the remaining chicken in 2 more batches. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Make ahead: The seasoning blend can be made and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. The chicken can be salted and refrigerated for up to 1 day.
Storage: Leftover chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container on paper towels for up to 4 days.
Meghan Splawn is the Food Editor for Kitchn's Skills content. She co-hosts a weekly podcast about food and family called Didn't I Just Feed You.
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This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published February 2, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.
As a laureate professor in nutrition and dietetics people often ask – what do you eat?
Plant-based foods are good sources of healthy nutrients. These include different types of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and a range of “phytonutrients”, which plants produce to help them grow or protect them from pathogens and pests.
A review of research published in May 2021 looked at 12 studies with more than 500,000 people who were followed for up to 25 years. It found those who ate the most plant foods were less likely to die from any cause over follow-up time periods that varied across the studies from five to 25 years, compared to those who ate the least.
Here are four versatile and tasty plant foods I have on my weekly grocery list, and the research showing why they’re good for you.
Tomatoes are a berry fruit (not a vegetable). They’re rich in vitamin C and “lycopene”, which is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are pigments produced by plants and give vegetables their bright colours.
A review of six trials asked people to consume tomato products equivalent to 1-1.5 large tomatoes or 1-1.5 cups of tomato juice daily for about six weeks.
The researchers found people who did this had reduced blood levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood that increases heart disease risk), as well as lower total and “bad” cholesterol levels, compared to those who didn’t have any tomatoes.
These people also had increased levels of “good cholesterol”.
Researchers found consuming any tomato products led to a large decrease in systolic blood pressure (the first number that measures the pressure at which the heart pumps blood).
However, there was no effect on the diastolic pressure (the second number which is the pressure in the heart when it relaxes).
In the group who had high blood pressure to begin with, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased after eating tomato products compared to placebos.
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and other important healthy nutrients. Shutterstock
A review of studies included a total of 260,000 men and found those with the highest intakes of cooked tomatoes, tomato sauces and tomato-based foods (equivalent to around one cup per week) had a 15-20% lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest tomato intakes. Keep in mind correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, though.
Keep canned tomatoes in the cupboard and add to pasta sauce, casseroles and soup. Make your own sauce by roasting tomatoes and red capsicum with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then puree with a spoon of chilli paste or herbs of your choice. Keep in the fridge.
Try our fast tomato recipes at No Money No Time, a site full of dietary advice and recipes founded by my team at the University of Newcastle.
People who had the highest intakes of foods rich in beta-carotene (such as pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato and leafy greens) had an 8-19% lower relative risk of having coronary heart disease, stroke, or dying from any cause in studies over 10 years or more compared to those with the lowest intakes.
Heat oven to 180℃, chop the pumpkin into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, roast till golden. Speed it up by microwaving cut pumpkin for a couple of minutes before roasting.
Pumpkins, carrots and sweet potato have high levels of beta-carotene, which has health benefits. Shutterstock
Mushrooms are rich in nutrients with strong antioxidant properties.
The body’s usual processes create oxidative stress, which generates “free radicals”. These are small particles that damage cells walls and cause the cells to die.
If these aren’t neutralised by antioxidants, they can trigger inflammation, contribute to ageing and development of some cancers.
A review of 17 studies on mushrooms and health found people who ate the most mushrooms had a 34% lower risk of developing any type of cancer compared to those with lowest intakes. For breast cancer, the risk was 35% lower. Though, again, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.
Across the studies, a high mushroom intake was equivalent to eating a button mushroom a day (roughly 18 grams).
A review of ten studies tested the effects on blood sugar and insulin levels from eating intact oat kernels, thick rolled oats or quick rolled oats compared to refined grains.
These found eating intact oat kernels and thick rolled oats led to significant reductions in blood glucose and insulin responses, but not after eating quick rolled oats.
This is likely due to the longer time it takes for your body to digest and absorb the less-processed oats. So it’s better to eat whole grain oats, called groats, or rolled oats rather then quick rolled oats.
Oats are a good sources of beta-glucan, a soluble fibre shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Growing up, challah French toast was the only French toast I knew. We would slather softened butter over thick slices of fresh challah on Friday night for Shabbat, and my dad would use the rest of the loaf to make mile-high stacks of French toast the next morning, dusted with powdered sugar and doused with syrup. (Eventually, we just started buying two loaves of challah, for fear we wouldn’t have enough left over).
It wasn’t until a diner served me French toast made with a piece of limp wheat sandwich bread that I realized how spoiled I had been. French toast should be fluffy and custardy with a crispy exterior, spiked with cinnamon and vanilla and sweet maple syrup — not any old end piece of soft bread fried in butter.
Trust me, once you’ve had challah French toast, you’ll realize there’s no other way to eat it. Here’s my recipe for the best-ever version.
3 Steps for the Absolute Best Challah French Toast
1. Cut thick slices of bread, then dry them out in the oven. Start with the prettiest, shiniest, plumpest loaf of challah you can find. Nowadays, you can find one-pound loaves of challah at most grocery stores, but your local bakery likely sells them too, especially towards the end of the week in preparation for Shabbat. Buy it whole and slice it yourself into one-inch slices. The thicker the slice, the more custard it can soak in, creating a more satisfying contrast between the crispy outside and the creamy, custardy center.
Then, you’ll dry out the bread in a 300°F oven, which ensures your French toast is soft and fluffy and pillowy, but not soggy.
2. Use full-fat dairy for the very best custard. Save your skim milk for your waffle batter and opt for either whole milk, heavy cream, or a combination of the two for the richest custard for your French toast. I also like to flavor the custard with a substantial amount of vanilla extract, a good dash of cinnamon, and a bit of maple syrup, which adds flavor without making it overly sweet. Plus, you’re likely to drizzle some more on top, so you might as well sweeten the bread with the same stuff.
3. Fry the French toast in butter, not oil. You’ll notice a lot of French toast recipes call for a mixture of butter and oil to fry the bread, which is thought to prevent the butter from burning. But as long as you keep a close eye on it, I find using all butter produces a more flavorful French toast, and it’s one less ingredient you need for this recipe.
Challah French Toast
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 (1-pound) loaf challah bread, cut into 1-inch-thick slices (10 to 12 slices)
1 1/2 cups whole milk, heavy cream, or a combination of the two
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 300°F.
Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place the bread in a single layer on the rack. Bake, flipping halfway through, until dry to the touch on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the custard.
Place the milk or cream, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon in a quart-sized liquid measuring cup or medium bowl. Whisk until fully combined (no streaks of egg remaining). Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Add as many slices of challah as can fit in a single layer. Soak, flipping once, until drenched but not falling apart, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Return to wire rack (letting excess drip off into baking sheet) and repeat with remaining challah slices.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the foaming subsides and the butter is sizzling but not brown, add 4 soaked challah slices. Cook until the bottoms are golden-brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is browned, about 3 minutes more. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the pan in between batches, swirling as it melts to ensure it doesn’t burn. Serve warm with more maple syrup.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Grace Elkus is the Deputy Food Director at The Kitchn.
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This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published December 14, 2018. This article is republished here with permission.
Inspired by esquites and elote, popular Mexican street foods, this creamy, hearty chowder is an excellent way to use up leftover grilled corn. Even the cobs are added to the soup for an extra boost of sweetness and depth of flavor. Crema and cotija cheese from brands such as Cacique and Suprema are increasingly available at supermarkets but can otherwise be found at Mexican grocery stores.
1 medium poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed, and finely chopped (½ cup)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 fresh bay leaf
3½ cups whole milk
3 medium yellow potatoes (about 1½ lb.), peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. ancho chile powder, plus more for topping
¼ cups thinly sliced cilantro
½ cups Mexican crema or sour cream
½ cups crumbled cotija cheese
Lime wedges, for serving
On a medium-hot grill or hot grill pan, char the corn all over, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a platter and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Working over a large bowl, slice the corn kernels off each cob, scraping the cob with the knife to extract the flavorful juices. Halve 5 of the bare corn cobs crosswise, discarding the rest. Set the kernels and cobs aside.
In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. When the foam begins to subside, add the onion, celery, poblano, garlic, oregano, and bay leaf. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, 7–8 minutes. Add the reserved corn kernels and cobs, milk, potatoes, and cream. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove and discard the cobs and bay leaf. Transfer 1½ cups of the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Stir the puréed soup back into the pot of remaining soup to thicken. Season with salt and the ancho chile powder, then ladle into wide soup bowls and garnish with the cilantro, crema, cotija, and additional ancho chile powder. Serve with lime wedges.
A bowl of pasta e fagioli only gets better with toppings: heap on the fresh basil, crispy pancetta, grated cheese, and olive oil. Jenny Huan
Somewhere between a thick soup and a loose pasta, this comforting dish is a staple in many parts of Italy. The trick to making it on a weeknight is using canned cannellini beans and quick-cooking ditalini pasta. Mash a small portion of the beans into the final broth to thicken and enrich the soup, and don’t forget about the finishing touches: crispy pancetta, fragrant fresh basil, plenty of Pecorino Romano, and a drizzle of olive oil.
1 cup finely diced carrot (about 2 medium carrots, 5 oz. total)
1 celery stalk, finely diced (½ cup)
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (3 Tbsp.)
1 sprig fresh thyme (optional)
1 (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 (15-oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
1½ cups (about 8 oz.) ditalini or other short, tubular pasta
¼ cups chopped fresh basil leaves, for serving
Grated pecorino-romano cheese, for serving
Set a small paper-towel-lined plate next to the stove. In a heavy medium–large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and the pancetta, ham, or bacon. Let cook, stirring frequently, until some of the fat has rendered out from the meat and it is just crisp, about 6 minutes. Quickly remove the meat using a slotted spoon and reserve on the prepared plate. In the pot with the fat, quickly stir in the onions and season with salt. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and another small pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the vegetables are lightly browned, 6–8 minutes more. Add the garlic and let cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the ingredients are better combined and the vegetables have softened slightly, about 5 minutes.
Using the back of a fork, mash about ½ cup of the beans well, then add them to the pot. Add the remaining beans whole, then pour in the stock and 2 cups water. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the pasta and adjust the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, 8–10 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle each with olive oil, and sprinkle with the reserved crispy meat pieces, the fresh basil, plenty of pecorino-romano, and more black pepper if desired. Serve immediately.
Pepperoni is the most iconic Detroit pizza topping. According to bread guru Peter Reinhart, the key to this pan pizza is “to use pepperoni with a diameter of 1 to 1½ inches, so that it cups up and crisps when baked, its oil trapped in the curled cup.” The richness is balanced out by the bright acidity of pickled peppers. While Detroit-style pizzas are traditionally square, you can also make these pies in two 9-inch cast-iron skillets using the same cook time. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can make the dough in a large bowl, using a large spoon or wet hands.
½ cup pepperoncini or pickled Peppadew peppers, sliced crosswise
At least 18 and up to 78 hours before you plan to bake the pizza, make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add 2 cups cool water (about 60°F) and mix on low speed until a coarse, shaggy dough forms, 30 seconds. Add the oil, increase the speed to medium, and mix until the dough is wet, coarse, and sticky, 30–60 seconds more. (It may seem too wet to form a cohesive dough at this point.) Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
Turn the mixer on medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth and sticky (it should be soft and supple to the touch and offer little resistance when pressed with a wet finger), 30–60 seconds.
Drizzle a clean work surface, a plastic bowl scraper, and your hands liberally with oil. Using the scraper, turn the dough out onto the oiled surface. Flatten the dough with your hands, then lift one end of the dough, stretching gently, and fold it to the center. Lift the opposite end, stretching gently, and flip it over the folded end like a letter. Fold the two wide ends in the same manner, forming a loose rectangle, then flip the dough over so that the smooth side is up. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Repeat this stretch-and-fold process three more times, drizzling more oil on your work surface and hands as needed. By the fourth stretch-and-fold, the dough should be much smoother and firm enough to hold together when lifted. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.
Five hours before you plan to bake the pizza, start panning the dough: Drizzle 1½ tablespoons each into two 9-inch square metal cake pans. Divide the dough in half and place one half in each pan. Rub the surface of the dough with oil; using your fingertips, dimple and expand the dough in all directions (it will not reach all the way to the edges at this point). Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Uncover the pans; starting at the center of the dough, with your fingers angled toward the edges and corners, dimple the dough outward again. Cover and set aside to rest for another 20 minutes. Continue dimpling and resting the dough at 20-minute intervals; by the third or fourth round, the dough should cover the entire surface of the pan. Sprinkle ¾ cup of the cheese cubes over each pan, gently pressing them into the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest until the dough bubbles up around the cheese and rises 2 inches, about 4 hours.
About 20 minutes before you plan to bake the pizza, set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500°F.
Immediately before baking, uncover the pans and spread a thin coat of the sauce over the dough. Top with half the pepperoni, followed by the remaining 2 cups cheese cubes (make sure to get plenty around the edges, where the dough meets the pan). Sprinkle the peppers over the cheese, then add the remaining pepperoni. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pans 180 degrees and continue baking until the cheese caramelizes to a deep golden brown, and the pepperoni bubbles and browns, 7–9 minutes more. Remove from the oven.
Using an offset metal spatula or bench scraper, loosen each pizza from the edges of the pan, then carefully slide it out onto a cutting board. Let rest for at least 1 minute, then cut into 3- or 4-inch squares; serve hot.
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This post originally appeared on Saveur and was published May 30, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.
What makes smoky, charred barbecue taste so good? The chemistry of cooking over an open flame
The mere thought of barbecue’s smokey scents and intoxicating flavors is enough to get most mouths watering. Summer is here, and that means it is barbecue season for many people in the U.S.
I am a chemist who studies compounds found in nature, and I am also a lover of food – including barbecue. Cooking on a grill may seem simple, but there is a lot of chemistry that sets barbecue apart from other cooking methods and results in such a delicious experience.
Cooking over an open flame – whether from gas, wood or charcoal – allows you to use both radiant and conductive heat to cook food.Romary/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
Cooking with fire
First, it is important to define barbecue because the term can mean different things in different cultures or geographic locations. At its most basic, barbecue is the cooking of food over an open flame. What sets barbecue apart from other cooking methods is how heat reaches the food.
On a barbecue, the hot grill grates heat the food via direct contact through a process known as conduction. The food also warms and cooks by absorbing radiation directly from the flames below. The mix of heating methods allows you to sear the parts of the food touching the grill while simultaneously cooking the parts that aren’t touching the griddle – like the sides and top – through radiating heat. The resulting range of temperatures creates a complex mixture of flavors and aromas. When cooking on a stovetop, there is much less radiation and most of the cooking is done where the food is in direct contact with the pan.
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When barbecuing, you can either put the food directly above the flames – what is called direct heat – or farther away on indirect heat. The direct cooking method subjects the food to very high temperatures, as the grilling surface can be anywhere from 500 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit (260 to 371 Celsius). The indirect cooking method places the heat source to the side of the food or far below, exposing the food to temperatures around 200 to 300 F (93 to 149 C).
Cooking is the process of using high temperatures to drive chemical reactions that change food at a molecular level. When you cook meat at higher temperatures – like over direct heat on a barbecue – the first thing to happen is that water near the meat’s surface boils off. Once the surface is dry, the heat causes the proteins and sugars on the outside of the meat to undergo a reaction called the Maillard Reaction. This reaction produces a complex mixture of molecules that make food taste more savory or “meaty” and adds depth to scents and flavors. The reaction and the flavors it produces are influenced by many variables, including temperature and acidity as well as the ingredients within any sauces, rubs or marinades.
A similar process occurs with vegetables. Barbecuing allows the water to evaporate or drip down without getting trapped by a pan. This keeps the vegetables from becoming soggy and promotes caramelization reactions. These reactions turn carbohydrates and sugars into smaller compounds like maltol – which has a toasty flavor – and furan – which tastes nutty, meaty and caramel-like.
Another hallmark of barbecued food is the unique char it develops. When foods are exposed to heat for prolonged periods of time, non-carbon atoms in the food break down, leaving behind the crispy, black carbon. This is the process of burning or charring.
Almost no one likes a completely burnt piece of meat, but little splashes of crispy char flavor can add such depth to foods. Cooking over the direct heat of a barbecue allows you to add just the amount of char to match your taste.
Unfortunately for those who like a little extra crisp, some of the chemicals in charred meat – molecules called heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – are known carcinogens. Though the dangers are far lower than smoking cigarettes, for example, limiting the amount of charring on meats can help reduce the risk of developing cancer.
The final quintessential barbecue flavor is smokiness. Cooking over wood or charcoal involves a lot of smoke. Even on a gas grill, melting fats will drip onto the heat source and produce smoke. As smoke swirls around the barbecue, the food will absorb its flavors.
Smoke is made up of gases, water vapor and small solid particles from the fuel. Burning wood breaks down molecules called lignans, and these turn into smaller organic molecules – including syringol and guaiacol – that are mainly responsible for the quintessential smokey flavor.
When smoke comes in contact with food, the components of the smoke can get absorbed. Food is particularly good at taking on smokey flavors because it contains both fats and water. Each binds to different types of molecules. In chemistry terms, fats are non-polar – meaning they have a weak electric charge – and easily grab other non-polar molecules. Water is polar – meaning it has areas of positive charge and an area of negative charge similar to a magnet – and is good at binding to other polar molecules. Some foods are better at absorbing smokey flavors than others, depending on their composition. One way to use chemistry to make food more smokey is to periodically spray it with water during the barbecuing process.
Smoke can contain hundreds of possible carcinogens depending on what you are burning. Only a small amount of research has been done on whether grilled foods absorb enough smoke to pose a significant risk to health. But researchers know that inhaling smoke is strongly correlated with cancer.
While the idea of barbecuing your favorite dish may evoke the feeling of simple pleasures, the science behind it is quite complex. The next time you enjoy the smoky goodness of food from a grill, you will hopefully appreciate the diverse nature of the compounds and reactions that helped produce it.
Photos by Joe Lingeman / Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot / Kitchn
If you’re looking for a sweet breakfast bake to build a tradition around, this French toast casserole is it. Custard-soaked bread is flavored with sweet cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with a nutty crumble topping, and baked until golden and steaming. The best part is, it’s as versatile as you need it to be — you can make it ahead or assemble at the last minute.
After extensive research (and a very full belly), I have a lot of opinions on what it takes to make the very best French toast casserole. Here’s how to do it.
The Best Bread for French Toast Casserole
Many French toast casseroles (including some I’ve written about!) begin with a loaf of rich and eggy brioche or challah bread. Although sturdy enough to be cubed or torn to pieces, they’re too soft to absorb the sweetened custard without falling apart unless they’re dried or toasted first. To avoid that step altogether, I like to use a crusty sourdough loaf, which has a hearty, chewy texture that stands up well to soaking — and doesn’t have to be dried or stale (although if you’ve got day-old bread, use it!) Sourdough bread also has a subtle sour tang, which balances the sweetness of the custard and crumble topping. If there’s no unsliced sourdough available, make your next choice a hearty Italian or French loaf (although not a baguette!).
With the crusty loaf of bread settled on the cutting board, it’s time to prepare it for the casserole. There are three options: tear, cube, or slice. Cubed bread pieces remain distinct and separate, tumbling off one another even after a long soak and gentle bake. Although slices of bread give off a nice visual (very clear that this is a baked French toast), the top half of the bread never fully absorbs the custard, even with an overnight soak. The best way to prepare the bread is by tearing it into bite-sized pieces. The irregularly shaped pieces have a greater surface area for absorbing the custard and nestle into one another so the interior bakes up rich and tender while the jagged edges brown and crisp.
A Ratio to Remember
Commit just three ingredients to memory — three cups dairy, eight large eggs, one pound bread — for the best (and easiest!) French toast casserole. Whisk the dairy and eggs together, then sweeten with brown sugar and add spices like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt for classic French toast flavor. You can also make it your own by swapping in honey, citrus zest, and other sweet spices. Use half-and-half in the custard, or combine equal parts heavy cream and whole milk. Avoid using fat-free milk, which won’t lend enough richness.
Don’t Forget the Finishing Touch
French toast is all about contrasting textures — soft, custardy bread snuggled beneath a crispy, toasted exterior — and this breakfast bake is no exception. You can bake the casserole as is, bread and custard alone, but to make this the very best make-ahead breakfast, add a sweet and nutty crumble topping. Serve with a drizzle of warm maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar to turn your kitchen into the hottest brunch spot in town.
French Toast Casserole
Yield: Serves 10 to 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 50 minutes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 (1-pound) loaf unsliced sourdough, Italian, or French (not baguette) bread
8 large eggs
3 cups half-and-half, or 1 1/2 cups each whole milk and heavy cream
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
2 ounces chopped nuts (about 1/2 cup), such as pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Warm maple syrup or powdered sugar, for serving
Fresh berries, for serving
9x13-inch or 3-quart baking dish
Spatula or wooden spoon
Soften the butter. Place 4 tablespoons unsalted butter on the counter to soften slightly.
Prepare the baking dish. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish or other 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
Tear the bread into bite-size pieces. Tear 1 loaf sourdough bread into bite-sized (1 to 2-inch) chunks. Arrange bread in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.
Make the custard. Whisk 8 large eggs, 3 cups half-and-half (or 1 1/2 cups whole milk and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream), 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the ground nutmeg together in a large bowl until smooth and combined.
Pour custard over bread and refrigerate. Pour the custard evenly over the bread, then press the bread down slightly into the custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. Or to bake right away, let sit for 1 hour at room temperature to give the bread time to absorb the custard.
Mix the dry ingredients for the crumble topping. Toss 2 ounces chopped nuts (about 1/2 cup), 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, remaining 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt together in a large bowl.
Add the butter to the crumble topping. Add the softened butter, and pinch and squeeze to incorporate the butter into the mixture until it forms moist, small clumps. Cover the crumble topping with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Heat the oven to 350°F. When ready to bake, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Take the casserole out of the refrigerator, uncover, and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off while the oven heats.
Sprinkle crumble topping over casserole and bake. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the casserole. Bake until the casserole is puffed, golden brown, and set, 45 to 50 minutes.
Cool the casserole. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with warm maple syrup or powdered sugar, and fresh berries.
Make ahead: The casserole can be assembled and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance.
Storage: The casserole is best when served immediately after baking. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Patty Catalano is a freelance recipe developer who worked as Alton Brown’s Research Coordinator & Podcast Producer and in the Oxmoor House test kitchen. She loves maple syrup, coffee and board games. Patty lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children.
This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published November 7, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.
Lynnhttps://www.everydaydiabeticre...-Cauliflower-Recipes [ more ]
LynnZUCCHINI CHIPS These delicious Zucchini Chips are the perfect snack for a healthier lifestyle! Low-fat and low-carb , our easy zucchini recipe is baked to perfection. The flavors are bold and taste better than any store-bought chips! It's the perfect appetizer for game day or just when you're lounging around watching TV. Careful though, stray fingers may dip into your Zucchini Chips when the family realizes just how good they are! What You'll Need 1 /3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs 1 /4 cup... [ more ]
LynnCreamy Cauliflower Mash with Kale (Low-Carb Colcannon) PREP TIME: 5 mins COOK TIME: 25 mins TOTAL TIME: 30 mins COURSE: Side Dish CUISINE: American Colcannon is an Irish mashed potato dish mixed with greens and sometimes cabbage. This low-carb mash uses cauliflower in place of potatoes and added kale, which I have to say is really darn good! Ingredients 6 cups 1 large head cauliflower, cut up into florets 4 teaspoons unsalted butter 3 cups chopped kale 4 cloves crushed garlic 2 chopped... [ more ]
200g/7oz rice, cooked according to the packet instructions
Place the lentils into a saucepan and cover with enough water to come 3cm/1¼in above the lentils. Bring to a boil, skimming off any froth as you bring it to the boil. Once simmering, add the turmeric along with half of the butter. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are completely softened and the water is absorbed, but the mixture not dry – add more water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and dry fry until toasted and aromatic (about 1-2 minutes). Remove the cumin seeds from the pan and set to one side. Add the remaining butter to the pan and, once melted, fry the garlic and chopped green chilli for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic turns light golden-brown, and the chilli is softened. Add the toasted cumin seeds back to the pan and remove from the heat.
Once the lentils are soft, give them a rigorous stir to break them up a little. Stir the chilli and garlic mixture (including any butter) into the pan with the lentils and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
When it comes to hydration, water doesn’t ring my chimes. I want everything I consume to be complex and nuanced, a cerebral experience in each sip. I crave vinegary shrubs, bracing kombucha, fruity bubbles, and warm infusions; blandness is banished from my diet. If I don’t have something tasty to drink, I won’t drink at all. Call it a flavor strike (ultimately, a strike against myself).
When I was pregnant, I forced myself to drink my weight in water (surging hormones make you desperately thirsty). I am convinced that the “pregnant glow” is really just the look of a person who, however begrudgingly, ordered bubbly water instead of wine for nine months straight. Like it or not, hydration has a tangible effect on everything from a dewy complexion to improved digestion. Despite all of this, I find I can be shamefully lazy about drinking water.
So looking for some motivation to hydrate consistently throughout the workday, I started to experiment with big batches of delicious drinks, using things I had in my pantry already (granted, my spice cabinet is exceptionally well stocked, but these ingredients should be easy to find). My criteria is that they be noncaffeinated, long on flavor, low on sugar, and delicious both warm and iced. If there’s something tasty to be had, I will not forget to refill my cup—and hopefully these drinks will help you get your fill, too.
Note: The sweetness in these beverages can be dialed up to taste. I like to use unconventional sweeteners, like whole boiled dates for a caramel profile, or boiled and strained goji berries for a fruity note.For the ginger brew and the hibiscus, instead of adding maple syrup or sugar, consider adding immune-boosting elderberry syrup. You can find it wherever supplements or health food items are sold.
Fresh Ginger, Lemon, and Dried Goji Berry
Photography by Julia Sherman
Fresh ginger root can be stored in your freezer if you intend to boil it later, and it can be scrubbed clean—no need to peel for this application. Antioxidant-rich goji berries are most commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and can be found online or at any health food store. This brew is intense and spicy, so feel free to dilute if drinking warm, or serve over ice.
8 cups filtered water ½ cup dried goji berries 4 oz ginger root, scrubbed clean and sliced thin 1 lemon, squeezed for juice
Bring water, berries, and ginger to a boil over a high flame. Lower to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Strain and serve warm or chilled over ice. Add honey or elderberry syrup if you want to sweeten.
Saffron, Cardamon, and Dates
Photography by Julia Sherman
A little pinch of saffron goes a long way. This is a decadent drink, with the rich flavor of simmered dates carried throughout.
3 Medjool dates (4 if using a smaller variety) 2 whole cardamom pods, crushed in a mortar and pestle 1 meager pinch saffron
Add the dates and cardamom pods to a pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dates fall apart. Remove from heat, add a pinch of saffron, crushing it between your fingertips. Let the brew steep for a few minutes, strain, and serve hot or cold.
Hibiscus, Cinnamon, and Clove
Photography by Julia Sherman
Hibiscus, a staple in Mexican agua frescas, makes a tart and punchy tea with notes of pomegranate and lemon. Just a handful of flowers goes a long way.
½ cinnamon stick 3 whole cloves ¼ cup dried hibiscus
Add the cinnamon stick and cloves to a pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the hibiscus. Remove from heat and let the flowers steep for 10 minutes. Strain and serve warm or over ice. Add honey or elderberry syrup if you want to sweeten.
InSpinning Plates, cook and self-professed vegetable enthusiast Julia Sherman (you might know her as Salad for President) shares how you, too, can make your way in and around the kitchen with confidence.
This post originally appeared on Domino and was published May 22, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.
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Photo by (Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Can you imagine eating the same lentil soup at your desk for lunch virtually every workday for almost two decades?
I couldn’t, at least not until I talked to Reid Branson, a Seattle nurse manager who has been doing just that. The soup is from Crescent Dragonwagon’s 1992 book Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread, and Branson fell so in love with it that it changed his lunch routine for the rest of his professional life.
Branson’s schedule is fairly unpredictable, as you might imagine: He supervises the nursing staff at the HIV clinic of a public hospital, Harborview Medical Center, where he and others have been plenty busy lately keeping on top of developments in the coronavirus outbreak. The one thing he can depend on, day in and day out, is this bright, rich and fragrant Greek lentil and spinach soup. It’s hearty and thick, with lentils as the base, bulked up by potatoes and butternut squash, and a flavor enlivened by a heavy dose of aromatic spices — plus a pop of fresh lemon juice.
“I’m a vegetarian, and getting a reliable source of protein every day at lunch is important to me,” Branson, 63, told me in a phone interview. “Plus, it’s fun to make. It’s got a rhythm to it. And at this point, I can do it without looking at the recipe.”
This all started when his favorite brand of canned soup, his previous workday lunch habit, changed the recipe to something he didn’t enjoy. “We had made other things we liked out of Crescent’s book,” he said, “so I went hunting and found the Greek lentil soup and made a batch, and the rest is history.”
That was 17 years ago. Every other Saturday since, Branson has made enough of the soup to fill four glass jars, enough to last him for eight lunches. (He works nine days over every two-week stretch, and on the ninth he goes back to opening a can.) Sometimes, if he makes a little extra soup — if, say, the butternut squash or potatoes he buys are bigger than usual — he’ll have some left over and his wife gets a taste, too.
In case you think he would get bored by something he has eaten thousands of times, far from it. Even though he always uses the same ingredients, “the soup never really tastes the same,” he said. “It’s always a little bit of a surprise: The onion came out strongly this time, or that’s a really good butternut squash. If I hadn’t made it as often as I had, I’d never have noticed that.”
When Branson emailed Dragonwagon about his soup fandom, she was delighted: What cookbook author wouldn’t be upon hearing that someone had made one of your recipes hundreds of times? “I am glad to have been eating lunch with you all these years, without even knowing it,” she wrote him back.
All good things must come to an end, including Branson’s ritual lunches. He’s retiring soon. “I have a countdown clock on my desk that says 111 days,” he said. “So I suspect I’ll retire the soup. But 111 days from today, I plan to make a big vat of it and bring it to my retirement party. That way, everybody else can have some.”
Greek Lentil and Spinach Soup With Lemon
In addition to all its other virtues, this brightly flavorful, easy soup from an almost three-decade-old cookbook is vegan, gluten-free and low-fat. Don’t skip the clean zing of lemon, which makes it sing.
Storage notes: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
Active time: 20 mins Total time: 55 mins Servings: 8 servings (makes 12 cups)
1 pound brown or large green lentils, rinsed and picked over
10 cups vegetable broth or water
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 medium Yukon gold, russet or red potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 ounces baby spinach, chopped
1 small butternut squash (1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the lentils, stock or water, jalapeño, coriander, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Add the potatoes, spinach and butternut squash, re-cover and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, and cook, stirring, until it starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until they soften, 3 minutes. Add the mixture to the soup, deglazing the skillet with a little soup liquid and adding the deglaze contents back to the soup pot. Add the salt and pepper, taste, and add more if needed. Pick out and discard the bay leaves.
Thinly slice one of the lemons and cut the other into wedges. Just before serving, stir the lemon juice into the soup. Serve the soup hot, with a lemon slice floating atop each bowl. Pass lemon wedges at the table.
NEW YORK - Global health officials have sounded the alarm over rising cases in Europe and elsewhere of monkeypox, a type of viral infection more common to west and central Africa.
As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not endemic for the virus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The U.N. agency said it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not typically found, and will provide further guidance and recommendations in coming days for countries on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.
The following is what is known about the current outbreak and relative risk of monkeypox:
How dangerous is it?
The risk to the general public is low at this time, a U.S. public health official told reporters at a briefing on Friday. Read full story
Monkeypox is a virus that can cause symptoms including fever, aches and presents with a distinctive bumpy rash.
It is related to smallpox, but is usually milder, particularly the West African strain of the virus that was identified in a U.S. case, which has a fatality rate of around 1%. Most people fully recover in two to four weeks, the official said.
The virus is not as easily transmitted as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that spurred the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts believe the current monkeypox outbreak is being spread through close, intimate skin on skin contact with someone who has an active rash. That should make its spread easier to contain once infections are identified, experts said.
"COVID is spread by respiratory route and is highly infectious. This doesn't appear to be the case with the monkeypox," said Dr. Martin Hirsch of Massachusetts General Hospital.
"What seems to be happening now is that it has got into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and is being spread as are sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world," WHO official David Heymann, an infectious disease specialist, told Reuters.
What has heath experts concerned?
The recent outbreaks reported so far are atypical, according to the WHO, as they are occurring in countries where the virus does not regularly circulate. Scientists are seeking to understand the origin of the current cases and whether anything about the virus has changed.
Most of the cases reported so far have been detected in the UK, Spain and Portugal. There have also been cases in Canada and Australia, and a single case of monkeypox was confirmed in Boston, with public health officials saying more cases are likely to turn up in the United States.
WHO officials have expressed concern that more infections could arise as people gather for festivals, parties and holidays during the coming summer months in Europe and elsewhere. Read full story
How can people protect against infection?
The UK has begun to inoculate healthcare workers who may be at risk while caring for patients with the smallpox vaccine, which can also protect against monkeypox. The U.S. government says it has enough smallpox vaccine stored in its Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to vaccinate the entire U.S. population.
There are antiviral drugs for smallpox that could also be used to treat monkeypox under certain circumstances, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
More broadly, health officials say that people should avoid close personal contact with someone who has a rash illness or who is otherwise unwell. People who suspect they have monkeypox should isolate and seek medical care.
What might be behind the spike in cases?
"Viruses are nothing new and expected," said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
Rasmussen said a number of factors including increased global travel as well as climate change have accelerated the emergence and spread of viruses. The world is also more on alert to new outbreaks of any kind in the wake of the COVID pandemic, she said.
(Reporting by Michael Erman; additional reporting by Jennifer Rigby and Natalie Grover in LondonEditing by Michele Gershberg, Bill Berkrot and Frances Kerry)