Sheela Prakash's Recent Articles
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What’s the Difference Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate?
Whether it’s topped with a few plump marshmallows or a heaping scoop of freshly whipped cream, a mug of piping hot chocolate is one of winter’s greatest pleasures. But wait — is what you have in your hands hot chocolate or actually hot cocoa? The terms are used interchangeably so often that it probably seems like they are identical beverages. While both mean an instant remedy for cold winter days, are they one in the same?
Feb 11, 2016
5 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy This Valentine’s Day
This time of year, hearts are abundant in every way, shape, and form. There are the classic heart-shaped candies, of course, but also cookies, cupcakes, and pizzas. Even breakfast gets in on the action with heart-shaped eggs and bacon! (See all the heart-shaped things here.) But it’s rare we actually stop to think about our real heart — and I’m not talking about in the emotional sense.
Feb 11, 2016
Why the Best Part of a Pot of Rice Is at the Bottom
Cook up a pot of rice on the stove and you’ll sometimes find, after scooping up the fluffy grains, what may seem to be an unpleasant layer of grains that are practically glued to the bottom. Some may see this as a failure and send the pot straight to the sink for soaking; others (aka those who are wiser) will see it as an opportunity. Almost every cuisine where rice is a staple in the diet has a different name for what lies underneath. In Iran, it’s tahdig.
Feb 11, 2016
Have You Tried Caramelized White Chocolate?
I’ve always had a soft spot for white chocolate. Well, actually, I have a soft spot for all chocolate, but there’s something in particular about white chocolate. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t receive the same attention milk and dark does; it’s the little guy — the one that never gets as much respect. Some argue white chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all.
Feb 10, 2016
What Is Baking Chocolate?
While wandering the baking aisle of a grocery store, you’ve likely come across stacks of what is referred to as “baking chocolate.” How does that differ from the chocolate a few aisles over in the candy section? And what kind do you actually need for that cake? Baking chocolate, in its most traditional form, is unsweetened chocolate.
Feb 10, 2016
Recipe: Chipotle Copycat Rice
Confession: I am not one of those people who is obsessed with Chipotle. I sort of missed that moment when everyone learned the glories of a burrito bowl, but with the fast-casual chain scheduled for a four-hour nationwide shutdown today, I thought it might be time to catch up. My fiancé, on the other hand, is quite different. He’s sung Chipotle’s praises countless times, and with that, the wonders of the chain’s simple and citrusy rice.
Feb 8, 2016
The Right Way to Store Brown Rice
Brown rice seems like any other dry good, right? Buy a big bag and throw it on a shelf in your pantry, and it will last for what often feels like an eternity. Well, not exactly. What makes brown rice not only more nutritious than white rice, but also extra nutty and flavorful, is that its bran and germ are still attached, which contain oils that are full of good, unsaturated fats. While that’s great from a health and taste perspective, those oils unfortunately go rancid pretty quickly.
Feb 4, 2016
5 Unexpected Ways to Use Leftover Rice
So you’ve already mastered the art of turning leftover rice into a big batch of crispy, crunchy fried rice? Time for some fresh inspiration! The world of leftover rice possibilities is vast, and fried rice is really just the beginning. In fact, once you realize just how much there is to do with the cooked grain, you may find yourself making a double batch every time you cook up some just so you have enough to explore all your other options. Here are five unique ideas to inspire you.
Feb 3, 2016
What Gives Jasmine and Basmati Rice Their Fragrance?
Both jasmine and basmati rice are prized for one specific thing: their aroma. There’s nothing quite like the two — they’re far from any other average white or brown rice. And while they carry distinct characteristics in their own right, it’s their fragrance that makes them stand out. But why are they more fragrant than any other long-grain varieties? It’s all thanks to a compound called 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline.
Feb 2, 2016
What Is Yuzu?
No, this funny-looking, seed-packed fruit isn’t a deformed lemon or a discolored orange. Instead, it’s another exotic citrus that you should be on your radar.About the size of a tangerine, yuzu is an incredibly fragrant citrus fruit, but since it’s super sour and tart, it’s not eaten as-is. Instead, its zest and juice are used for flavoring in recipes.Yuzu is cultivated mainly in Japan, Korea, and China, and is not exported to the U.S.
Feb 1, 2016
Why You Shouldn’t Peel (Most of) Your Vegetables
When you’re late getting home from work and you’re already starving for dinner, peeling your vegetables before cooking them probably feels like the last thing you want to be doing. It tacks on a few extra minutes, which on crazed weeknights can feel all too precious. So is it really necessary? Nope! If you wash your vegetables well, organic or not, it’s OK to leave the peel on.
Jan 29, 2016
Why You Need a Pair of Cooking Chopsticks
You most likely think of a pair of chopsticks as simply a utensil for grabbing your sushi or pad Thai rather than a cooking tool. Yes, I’m talking about those cheap wooden ones that get thrown into your takeout bag, but there’s another set of chopsticks out there that’s destined for much more. Called saibashi in Japanese, these unique chopsticks are typically made of bamboo and significantly longer — ranging anywhere between 14 to 16 inches in length. How to use them?
Jan 28, 2016
5 Ways to Enjoy the Savory Side of Yogurt
On the list of things to add to your yogurt, vegetables of any way, shape, or form are likely at the bottom of your list. Layer in fruit jam and you’ve got DIY fruit-on-the-bottom. Swirl in honey and peanut butter and you’ve practically got dessert. So why even go beyond the world of sweet mix-ins and dig into something more savory? Because it opens the door to a whole new world of snacking options.
Jan 26, 2016
Your Guide to the Most Amazing Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes should be so good they don’t even need a drizzle of gravy. That means they need to be light and fluffy, creamy and rich, and decadently buttery. For so many of us, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without them. So how do you master the mash? Here’s everything you need to know to achieve mashed potato greatness. The best mashed potatoes start from the source: the potatoes themselves.
Nov 26, 2014
3 Essential Rules of Thanksgiving Day Breakfast
With all the cooking going on, the last thing you probably want to think about is what to serve family or any overnight guests on Thanksgiving morning. Don’t fret — it doesn’t have to be complicated to be good! There are really just three simple rules to follow. Here they are, along with the best strategies and recipes to make Thanksgiving breakfast a success. There’s just too much other cooking going on for a lot of energy to be going into breakfast.
Nov 25, 2014
Before and After Your Ramadan Fast: Foods for Suhoor and Iftar
During the month of Ramadan, observers of Islam fast from sunrise to sunset. Learn more about the food associated with this practice.
Jul 10, 2013
The One Tip That Will Make You More Confident When Cooking Risotto
Perhaps the trickiest thing about risotto is knowing when it’s done. Like pasta, you want to cook the rice to al dente — it should be cooked through but still have just the slightest bite to it. How do you know when risotto is cooked to that stage?
Mar 5, 2012