Christine Gallary's Recent Articles
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5 Reasons Why Ham Is the Perfect Main Dish for a Buffet
I used to fret over parties with a buffet. The main dish was the trickiest part. Should I cook something or just buy something? Hot or cold entree? Would someone have to be tasked with carving a large piece of meat? But now the buffet entree is the easiest decision to make, since it will probably be a big spiral-sliced ham. Ham is popular for holidays like Easter and Christmas, but it’s also great for any big gathering. Here’s why it’s my favorite party main.
Mar 26, 2015
The Best Place to Store Eggs in the Refrigerator
It’s common practice in the United States to store eggs in the refrigerator because eggs here are power-washed and lose their natural protective coatings, making them more susceptible to contamination. But should you put your eggs in the cute little egg tray in the door of your refrigerator? The answer is no — the door is the warmest part of the refrigerator and the temperature there can fluctuate, especially when the refrigerator is opened.
Mar 25, 2015
Can You Help Me Improve My Grandmother’s Chocolate Malted Milk Cake Recipe?
Q: I have a few questions that have plagued me for over 45 years about my grandmother’s prize-winning cake recipe. Unfortunately for me, it is my entire family’s favorite birthday cake. That means I have to grin and bear this baby 10 times a year. I need help! She was a master baker and really stingy about sharing her methods … even with me! She made a chocolate malted milk cake that has an odd texture for cake, almost like cornbread.
Mar 23, 2015
The Best Place to Store Sweet Potatoes
I used to store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator, due to lack of counter space and with the thinking that refrigeration would keep them fresh for a longer period of time. Turns out I was wrong! Refrigeration changes the structure of the cell walls of sweet potatoes, making them harder to break down. As a result, refrigerated sweet potatoes can remain hard in the middle and take longer to cook.
Mar 20, 2015
Why Are My Fried Wontons So Puffy?
Q: I have been making fried wontons for about a month. I am not able to get my wontons to be full. When I stuff them, they are bursting out of the wrappers. However, when I cook them, they puff up and I am left with hollow, chewy wontons. What is it that I am doing wrong? Sent by Vann Editor: Deep-fried foods tend to get quite hot quickly and puff up, thus the hollowness. Readers, do you have any tips on how to fill wontons so they don’t have such hollow centers?
Mar 19, 2015
What’s a Good Wooden Cutting Board for Carving Meat?
Q: Can we talk about the best wooden cutting boards for carving cooked meat? Mine was ancient and had developed a split, so I chucked it — there was no way I could carve a chicken or other cooked meat on it without juices leaking all over my counters. I need to replace it, but am not sure how much I should spend for the best quality. I would like one with grooved edges to collect runaway juices, ideally. Thanks Kitchn editors and readers!
Mar 17, 2015
My Golden Rule for Grocery Shopping
They seem like distant memories, but I remember when I used to have all the leisurely time in the world to grocery shop. I could browse the aisles, comparison shop, and even plan meals while in the middle of the grocery store. And now? Working full-time, as well as having a spirited two-year-old daughter, means that grocery shopping is a sprint to get through the grocery store as efficiently and quickly as possible, always with a list.
Mar 16, 2015
No, the Seeds Are Not the Spicy Part of a Chili Pepper
Recipes often instruct you to remove the seeds from a spicy pepper if you want less heat, which seems to imply that the seeds are the source of the fire. But while removing the seeds might help a little, they’re not the true producer of heat! Capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that contains fiery heat, is actually concentrated in the inner white pith or rib of the chile pepper.
Mar 13, 2015
5 Ways to Use Your Dutch Oven (Besides Braising)
While Dutch ovens are designed to do the tasks of browning meat and vegetables and then slowly braising them into deliciousness, they should be hauled out for more than just stews and soups. If you own a Dutch oven, put it to work from morning until night. Here are five ways to get the most out of your Dutch oven — besides braising! Since casseroles usually require stove and oven cooking, a Dutch oven is the perfect pot since it can be used in both places.
Mar 13, 2015
How Do I Clean My Ceramic Nonstick Pot?
Q: My ceramic nonstick pot is white on the inside. I have cooked several foods in it and now it is getting brownish. I noticed it got even more brown after I cooked black beans in it. But if it is a pot, I presume that I should be able to cook anything with it! So, my question is: Is there anything that should not be cooked in this type of pot? Also, how can I clean it up so that the inside gets back to white? I just read that baking soda with water is a good way of cleaning the pots.
Mar 11, 2015
KitchenAid’s New Stand Mixer Color for 2015 Is Champagne Gold
Every January I go to the Winter Fancy Food Show It’s an impressive, slightly overwhelming experience to navigate enormous halls filled with kitchen and housewares, but it’s fun to see the newest and shiniest goods that brands have to offer. Stopping at the KitchenAid booth is a must, especially to see the newest color(s) for the stand mixers.
Mar 10, 2015
Yes, You Can Thaw and Brine Your Turkey at the Same Time
You might think that brining is something you only do once a year with the Thanksgiving turkey, but think again! It’s an easy way to season meat and help keep it moist at the same time. While brining recipes usually assume you’re using fresh or thawed meat, did you know that you can actually wet-brine meat directly from the freezer? Since one common method of thawing meat quickly is to place it in cool water, you can use that same principle but just swap out plain water for brine.
Mar 9, 2015
The Best Place to Store Bay Leaves Is Not in Your Spice Drawer
As I was skimming Cook’s Illustrated’s The Science of Good Cooking, this tip caught my eye: Even though we use bay leaves much in the same way as dried herbs and spices, they shouldn’t be stored in the spice drawer with everything else. Guess where they should be stored instead? Turns out that the freezer is the best place to store bay leaves! If bay leaves are frozen, they retain almost as much flavor and aroma as a freshly opened jar or package of bay leaves.
Mar 4, 2015
The Most Important Box to Pack Next Time You Move
Everybody knows that pizza is the moving-day meal of choice — pizza shops are everywhere, open continuously, and deliver. Bonus: You don’t need plates or silverware to eat pizza, and everyone loves it! But what about the first morning in your new place? If your boxes haven’t arrived yet or you just haven’t gotten around to unpacking (moving day was stressful enough!), you’ll need some basic-as-it-gets kitchen supplies so you don’t have to turn to takeout.
Mar 4, 2015
3 Questions That Keep My Crisper Drawers Organized & Healthy
Are your refrigerator crisper drawers a hodgepodge mix of fruits and vegetables packed together so tightly you have a hard time knowing what’s in there? Or have you always struggled to figure out where to store things if you have multiple drawers that have humidity settings? Over the years, I’ve developed a series of just three simple questions that I ask myself when putting my produce away. These questions help me figure out where things go so that I can easily find them later.
Mar 2, 2015
Why Cupcakes Will Never Replace My Birthday Cake
As I was planning my daughter’s 2-year birthday party recently, I struggled briefly with whether to have a big birthday cake or just cupcakes for everyone. Cupcakes would be easy to serve, and we would know exactly how many to buy, instead of the small dance of estimating cake servings. But my hesitation disappeared quickly when it dawned on me that the decision was actually quite easy: tall, layered, frosted birthday cake all the way.
Feb 25, 2015
Ignore This Recipe Instruction When Cooking with Frozen Vegetables
I’ve been testing recipes for many years now, so I’m usually a strict follower of instructions. Deviating from them can sometimes drastically change the outcome of the recipe. There’s also a certain satisfaction I get from methodically following and completing the steps, a bit like working my way down a checklist. But there are a few instructions, based on experience, that I will always choose to ignore, and one of them involves cooking with small frozen vegetables.
Feb 25, 2015
Do You Really Need to Use Oil When Roasting Vegetables?
Q: Recipes for roasted vegetables always say to coat the vegetables with oil before roasting. I usually skip this step and just put the diced-up veggies on a Silpat sheet. They always turn out fine and get nicely browned, so I’m just wondering what is the real purpose for tossing everything in oil before roasting? Skipping the oil at this stage makes cleanup a lot easier, and I just add butter or oil once the vegetable is on my plate.
Feb 23, 2015
What’s the Difference Between Gyoza and Potstickers?
Given my Chinese descent, the first dumplings I ever ate were Chinese ones — wontons, potstickers, and boiled dumplings. But I’ve also ordered gyoza at Japanese restaurants, which seem similar enough to potstickers. Are all these Asian dumplings essentially the same, especially since I’ve seen them labeled as “Gyoza Potstickers” at stores like Trader Joe’s?
Feb 16, 2015
5 Vegetable Tops That You Should Never Throw Out
Rather than looking at a bunch of root vegetables with their tops attached and thinking that they’re awkward to bring home and that the tops will fill up the compost bin, change your thinking! Look at them as a “Buy one, get one free” item: buy the root vegetable and you also get a whole bunch of nutritious greens for the same price. Here are five vegetable tops that are completely edible and delicious in their own right. Don’t pass them up!
Feb 10, 2015
How Is Skim Milk Made?
Sometimes my fridge contains too many varieties of milk — whole milk for my toddler, 2% low-fat milk for the other kids who hang out here, and skim milk for my husband. Seeing the lineup got me thinking recently: How exactly do you get all the fat out of skim milk, and is that the only difference between it and the other kinds of milk? Skim milk goes by “skimmed milk” in the United Kingdom and Canada. It is also sometimes referred to as nonfat or fat-free milk.
Feb 10, 2015
Where Can I Find a Griddle Without a Grease Drip Hole?
Q: I am searching for a griddle that does not have a grease drip hole. One that can do hamburgers, waffles, pancakes, paninis, bacon, and fried eggs, but that will also allow for the cooking of scrambled eggs. I have a Presto right now, but the grease drip hole makes it impossible for me to do a large batch of scrambled eggs after I’ve done my regular eggs. The scrambled eggs just flow right out of the hole unless I do a very small amount of them.
Feb 9, 2015
What Does Egg Yolk Color Actually Mean?
You’ve probably seen or eaten a “farm-fresh” egg, with a gorgeous orange yolk, and wondered why it looks so different from standard grocery store eggs. Does that orange yolk mean it was a free-range egg or that there’s something special about it? Does it make it more nutritious than regular eggs? Turns out that egg yolk color is really just an indicator of the hen’s diet!
Feb 5, 2015
The Easiest Way to Comparison Shop at the Grocery Store
I found myself in the produce section at Whole Foods recently staring at the baby spinach. There were prepacked bags and bulk baby spinach to choose from. I usually assume bulk goods are cheaper, but the prepacked bags were oh-so-tempting and easy. Which should I get? I decided that price would be the deciding factor, so I set about trying to figure out which was a better deal, when I realized the answer was right there in front of me! I didn’t even have to do any math!
Feb 5, 2015
Can Lemon Juice Revive Limp Lettuce?
Can sad, slightly wilted lettuce be revived? A common trick is to submerge the leaves in cold water to help crisp them up, but when we heard that adding lemon juice to the water would perk them up even more, we had to try it out for ourselves! Since limp lettuce results from moisture loss, soaking the leaves in cold water adds that moisture back in. Adding lemon juice, which is acidic, to this water is supposed to encourage cell turnover in lettuce leaves so they absorb even more water.
Feb 2, 2015
Why Soup Tastes Better the Next Day (Most of the Time)
My love of soup comes from my grandmother, who had a big pot of Chinese soup bubbling on the stove a few times a week. She was emphatic about cooking dinner from scratch every night, since she argued that it tasted better that way, but soup was the one thing she made one day and served over the course of the next few days. And you know what? She was right — soup just tastes better the next day!
Jan 28, 2015
Why Carrots Should Always Be Cut into Rounds, Not Sticks
Let’s face it: A crudité platter is really just an excuse to eat dip. As virtuous as I feel eating raw vegetables, the large amount of dip I try to get onto each bite probably negates any of the vegetables’ health benefits. Since carrots are such a staple on a vegetable platter, I’m here to tell you why you should ditch the carrot sticks forever and cut them into rounds instead! To put it simply, carrot rounds maximize your dipping potential.
Jan 27, 2015
5 Tips to Turn Leftover Soup into a Great Pasta Sauce
Having a pot of soup around means that you have a great meal secret weapon. It doesn’t take that much more time to make a big pot than a little pot, leaving you with lots of soup to stash away in the fridge or freezer when you need a quick meal that reheats well. But sometimes that big pot of soup is, well, big. Big enough that after a couple of meals, you’re starting to get tired of it. Or perhaps you have just a small amount left but it’s not enough to make a full meal.
Jan 27, 2015
Why You Should Use Deep Bowls for French Onion Soup
If I’m thinking about ordering French onion soup at a restaurant, I take a look around and see if anyone else is eating it. While how the soup tastes is the most important factor, what the soup is served in is almost as important to me, so I try to scope it out before making my decision. Here’s why I’m so picky! What makes French onion soup so delicious? Is it the sweet, rich, deeply onion-y broth? Or is it the crunchy, toasted bread covered with molten, bubbly cheese?
Jan 22, 2015
What’s the Best Type of Miso for Miso Soup?
Miso soup always seems like such a perfect start to a sushi dinner. The briny broth wakes your stomach without weighing it down, warms you up, and primes you for the rice and fish meal to come. Making miso soup at home is actually quite easy and requires just a few ingredients. But which miso should you buy, and is there really a perfect one for making miso soup?
Jan 20, 2015
What Should I Serve at a Large Housewarming Party?
Q: I am hosting a housewarming party. I recently purchased a house and I will be having between 50 and 100 people there. How do we feed this many people without losing our minds? I do know I want a drop-in party where people can come and go between a set time. I want something stress-free but fun. I’d also like this to be as inexpensive as possible without it being a potluck.
Jan 16, 2015
10 Things That Should Always Be Added to Soup at the Last Minute
Soup is usually a slow-cooked dish, and one in which all the elements and flavors come together with time. There are some things, however, that should always be added to soup at the last minute to help maintain the integrity of those additions and to retain the texture of your soup. Here’s a list of ten things that you shouldn’t add to soups until the last minutes before serving.
Jan 16, 2015
The Easiest Way to Thicken a Soup
After simmering your soup until everything’s melded together and tasty, what do you do if the texture’s just a little too thin for your liking but everything else is perfect? Here’s an easy technique to help thicken your soup without the need for any additional cream, flour, fat, or other ingredients. Making soup doesn’t really require a recipe. All you need are some aromatics, vegetables, maybe some meat, and some time for everything to simmer together in broth.
Jan 14, 2015
What Are Oyster Crackers (And How Did They Get Their Name)?
Even though I didn’t grow up in New England and only lived there for about two years, I’m immediately suspicious of any clam chowder doesn’t come with a little packet of oyster crackers on the side. Is it still authentic if there aren’t any oyster crackers? Also, these cute crackers got me thinking: What exactly IS an oyster cracker, and why does it have such a close connection with clam chowder?
Jan 13, 2015
My Worst Cooking Disaster Involved a Fish (Naturally)
It was a few years before culinary school, and I suddenly had the urge to recreate a favorite soup from my beloved grandmother who had unexpectedly passed away the year before. What happened next was, hands down, my worst cooking disaster ever. Bored and unfulfilled at my desk job, my mind usually wandered to food and cooking during the interminable workday.
Jan 13, 2015
The 5 Best Types of Soups to Freeze
Soups are one of my favorite things to make and freeze. I love freezing soups because making a big batch to have both for dinner and to stash in the freezer is easy, and soups are healthy and filling. In fact, inspired by The Kitchn’s focus on soups this month, I made three in the last week! Here’s what you need to know about which soups hold up well in the freezer so you can build up your own stash!
Jan 12, 2015
Broth Concentrates Are the New, Better Bouillon Cubes
A few years ago I snagged some samples of beef broth concentrate at a food trade show, then saw that they had even more flavors like turkey and pho broth last year. I promptly forgot I had them until recently, then decided to give these little liquid packets a try. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results and now make sure they’re stocked in my pantry at all times!
Jan 9, 2015
For Healthy Wok Cooking, Start with Bacon
Healthy cooking starting with bacon? Seems counterintuitive, right? But it’s actually one of the best ways to get your new or old wok seasoned so that you can move on to healthy quick cooking instead. We love wok cooking here at The Kitchn because you can use it to cook vegetables and proteins quickly with small amounts of oil, just the sort of cooking we like to do in January after the holidays.
Jan 8, 2015
Can a Potato Really Fix a Too-Salty Soup?
Maybe you forgot to use low-sodium broth. Maybe you forgot that you were using something salty like bacon or ham in your soup and you threw in an extra pinch of salt. In either case, you now have a pot of too-salty soup — I was guilty of this just last night when making a big pot of turkey meatball soup, but luckily it was flavorful enough that I could dilute it with water.
Jan 7, 2015
10 Ingredients to Try (Maybe for the First Time)
We’re always on the lookout for new ingredients that we never thought we could eat (hello, pumpkin leaves!), as well as trendy ingredients that start popping up everywhere, like black garlic. Check out these 10 ingredients that we fell in love with this year and see if you like them as much as we do. If you’re tired of cooking with the same ingredients, try swapping in cashew meal for almond flour or cooking with those carrot tops that you usually toss into the compost.
Dec 30, 2014
We Tested These 15 Popular Tips: Are They Mindblowing or Not?
I’ll confess that I’m a bit of a skeptic when I come across very off-the-wall cooking tips that are supposed to blow my mind, so when I started writing here at The Kitchn, trying out some of these tips was really fun. Here are 15 popular tips that we put to the test. Find out if they were duds or world-rocking techniques that we’ll actually be using in our cooking!
Dec 27, 2014
Why Leftover Eggnog Makes the Best French Toast
Each year we splurge on this amazing locally made eggnog since it’s the only time of year they make it. One of our family traditions is to trim the Christmas tree while drinking eggnog and munching on cookies. And one of the best parts about having this eggnog around? It makes the best French toast ever. The downside of this local eggnog is that it doesn’t have a long shelf life, so I feel sad whenever we don’t finish it in time.
Dec 19, 2014
What’s a Good Meal to Make for a Neighbor?
Q: We met a lovely couple via a mutual friend around a month ago, and they just moved into our neighborhood this week. We’ve hung out a few times since meeting, and they are very sweet. They have asked us to look in on their cats every day while they make the long drive to the Northeast and back to move the rest of their belongings.
Dec 18, 2014
What Are Some Cold or Room Temp Dishes to Bring to an Office Potluck?
Q: My department at work (about 30 people) holds frequent lunch potlucks at staff meetings. I’ve exhausted my cache of recipes that fit the necessary constraints: …must be made the night before (bonus points if parts of it can be made two nights before), must be served cold or room temp, must work on a buffet table (easy to serve quickly), and must feed a lot of people. Salads and desserts are obvious choices, but I’m looking for new and impressive dishes that taste great.
Dec 17, 2014
Why Champagne Is the Only Wine I Serve with Cheese
In the past, when I hosted a party and served a cheese platter or a cheese course, I stressed out about the right kind of wine to pair with it. Should I go red, which would go better with strongly flavored cheeses, or do I go white to complement tangy goat cheese? Should I offer both? Then I stumbled on the solution, and it’s become the only wine I now serve with cheese: Champagne. Call it sparkling wine if you must, but I just call it the perfect pairing.
Dec 17, 2014
5 Reasons Why You Should Deep-Fry Outside
Let’s face it — deep-frying, or even shallow-frying, food is a pain, even if the results are delicious. Oil splatters everywhere, your kitchen gets hot, and sometimes that greasy oil smell can linger in your kitchen and house for days and days. Who wants to smell like fried fish or latkes? Nobody. An easy solution? Take the frying outside. Here are five reasons why you should take frying to the great outdoors. It’s just as easy as frying indoors.
Dec 15, 2014
Is Sifting Flour for Baked Goods Really Necessary?
I’ll confess that while I do own a flour sifter, it usually stays in the back of one of my kitchen drawers, unused. Recipe instructions for baked goods can be all over the map when it comes to sifting — some insist that you sift multiple times, while some don’t have you do it at all. Is the process of sifting really necessary?
Dec 11, 2014
How Many Sides Does a Meatball Have, Anyway?
Q: Now that winter is upon us, and I foresee many hearty meatballs in the weekly repertoire, I’d like to ask a seemingly obvious question: When instructions say to brown meatballs “X minutes per side,” how many sides should be done? Two or four? Would it differ based on the size of the meatball (four for larger ones)? I’d love to know what everyone’s go-to is, as this instruction is very common but rarely gives specifics.
Dec 10, 2014