Do you know how to pick the best pots and pans?

pots and pans

Braising, more commonly known as pot roasting, is a method of cooking which involves both the use of hot and moist heat together to cook hard food materials. For example, a dish is first cooked at high heat and is then slowly boiled at low temperatures to break the tough fibres in the meat called collagen, so that it can be chewed easily. So, after knowing this, the meaning of braising pans can easily be guessed. Braising pans are pans which are specifically made and best suited for dishes which require the meat to be braised. Are you a newbie chef who recently start making Asian cuisines and need a braising pan for the best result? Do you need to know how to pick the best one? Well, you are at the right place! This large pile of text will guide you on how to pick the best pots and pans for your cooking need! So, let’s start!

Factors involved in picking a Braising Pan:

There are a handful of factors which are essential to think about before buying a braising pan, as the right pan for you can save your time and your expenses, and can improve the quality of the food you are trying to cook. Below are some discussed in depth:

  • The size of the pan:

This choice mostly depends on the type of food you are making and the space available in your kitchen as braising pans come in many different sizes, from a small one to one that can cook and hold up to 50 gallons! Think about the amount of food you’ll cook and your space and then buy the one suitable for you, as the appropriate pan instead of a large one can save both your money, and your oil.

  • The manufacturer:

Top manufacturers make sure to craft the best braising pan in the market to hold their reputation, so make sure to select a genuine one instead of a knock-off, as they don’t last long anyway.

  • Gas or electric pan?

This decision isn’t hard to make, as both can work well in both cases, but the correct choice can increase the longevity and durability of the product, and can save you a bunch of money you would waste on getting replacements if you make the wrong choice.

  • Extra Details:

Extra details should also be considered, as they can help you in the kitchen and increase your productivity. For example, if you have a large family and are cooking food for them, you’ll use your pan a lot, so find one which also has a lid to increase its life expectancy.

Dark chocolate. Zucchini. Cinnamon. Walnuts. You in?

Dark chocolate. Zucchini. Cinnamon. Walnuts. You in? I thought so. These Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Brownies are absolutely magical. They are crazy moist with a gorgeous sweet crunchy top that sets them apart from all other brownies out there.

walnut-brownies

They also have a secret, besides their hidden zucchini, these brownies are gluten free and diary free! Think you could tell? Well, I fed them to 6 adults and 4 kids and no one had a clue. When I told everyone that they were filled with zucchini and gluten free and diary free…well, they were shocked. And then they promptly grabbed another brownie.

I love to feed people. It’s a big reason why I started this blog. I like to cook, bake and shake up cocktails for everyone who walks in my door. It’s what makes me feel good. It’s how I show love.

Two of my girlfriends have dietary restrictions that make that hard sometimes. One is gluten free and the other has to be diary free (she even carries an epi-pen). When they come over, I like to make sure I have at least a few options for both of them.

When they stopped by earlier this month for a little catch up chat, I was scrambling for what to make. I ended up pulling out some hummus, my Fully Loaded Guacamole and I whipped up a batch of these brownies.

I had actually never made gluten free brownies before and was pretty nervous. I have had wonderful success with using Pamela’s Chocolate Brownie Mix previously and was trusting her not to let me down. I used Pamela’s Chocolate Brownie Mix and I am so glad that I did. They were even better than I could have imagined and they baked so quickly — only 20 minutes in the oven!

When I pulled these out of the oven, I knew I would have to wait until the next day for them to really be “ready” to eat. Anytime you bake with chocolate and zucchini, it is ALWAYS best if you let them rest overnight. So I let them cool and wrapped them with foil and let them sit. The smell was killing me, but I waited and waited…until breakfast.

Home Office

Hectic life is taking a toll on me. Heck, sometimes I’d still need to bring my work back home. A lot of work and researches need to be done before I conduct a presentation to the board every fortnight. It has never been an easy task simply because I don’t have a proper office in my house. Sometimes, I’d work at the dining table, in the living room, or in my bedroom. Things are messy. Then, one day I decided to have my own office at home.

This is my ideal office at home.

My ideal workspace
My Ideal Office

The monochromatic colors of black and white will set the office mood straight. The sophisticated yet timeless colors will give the idea of a classy office. With everything in the hues of black and white, it is optional to insert certain items of a different hue in my office. I’ll place a bouquet of roses on the table, perhaps? Budget shouldn’t be a problem, because almost all items I need are easily available at IKEA at an affordable price.

Say, if a monochromatic-colored office is too serious, there’s always an alternative idea. Pastel colors are excellent choices as they will soothe and calm my anxiety when I have deadlines to meet. However, I have to bear in mind that bright colors may not be the most suitable colors to be painted in my office. Bright colors create the idea of a jovial, happy and fun atmosphere. Too much of the vibrancy could kill the mood to focus on serious matters.

Pastel-colored Work Space
Pastel-colored Office

Of course, one can never go wrong with minimal decorations and furniture in an office. Lighting is important in a simple office. The balcony should allow a certain degree of light to enter the office. It helps to brighten up the office, thus giving the illusion that the office is spacious. Sitting in a dimly lit office is not ideal for the brain to function properly. And, it is best to have some small plants (e.g cactus) placed on the table, as well.

The Minimal Concept
The Minimalistic Concept

In the end I settled for the minimalist concept. What do you think?

How to Cook Basic Chicken Soup

It is one very versatile soup… You can add Raw biscuits or Spaghetti for noodles, or some kind of Pasta that you like.. All the other work is done.. I hope you give this a try.

chicken soup

Ingredients

2 Large Chicken Breast Bone in with Skin
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Large onion Chopped
2 Cups Chicken Broth or stock
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 Cup Frozen Peas
4 Carrots chopped
A few sprigs of fresh Dill for soup (optional)

A recipe from OldManCooking

Finally settled for a Mr. Coffee espresso maker

Travel has been our passion, and we stayed in India for almost a decade because my husband was sent there. We decided to make the most of our stay by traveling to various places in that country. I had a few problems though. I am a coffee addict, and finding a decently brewed coffee in a country that is predominantly tea drinker, was a difficult proposition. The closest they came to latte on coffee was in some southern State. The person poured coffee from a height of about 3 feet into a small glass below, with a great deal of precision, and repeated the action with the other hand till decent froth was built on coffee. There was nothing wrong with the coffee or beans. It was just that I was not accustomed to drinking so sweet coffee, and prefer it neatly placed before me in a ceramic cup or mug.

espresso maker

Decision on getting an espresso maker

After a few months of suffering, we ordered an espresso maker from Amazon but not before going through oh so many reviews about such appliances. I was told that reviews may not always be genuine. I believed that to be true. How can a small appliance get so many good reviews and simultaneously bad reviews? So when my husband was reading those reviews, I suggested that he only opt for the best espresso makers. “And how am I to judge that?” he’d asked. I promptly told him to look for espresso makers on Amazon that scored only four and and five star. The task was time consuming but my husband had the time, and I didn’t. So he sat a couple of hours for almost a week and searched different websites to locate the best espresso maker based on my stipulation. In about a week’s time, he had a few “best espresso maker reviews” for me to review and finalize. We decided we will take a small machine, rather a single cup espresso maker because Indians prefer tea and as long as we stay in India, we would have Indian visitors.

I feel no shame in admitting that I am the decision maker in my family in so far as the kitchen appliances go. My husband and my son get to do all the spade work. We finally settled for Mr. Coffee espresso maker. It was not until we had paid for it with my husband’s credit card that I noticed a few negative reviews. I guess there must have been some reason for my husband liking it. All I can say is I am happy with the appliance. I get creamy frothy coffee, and my younger children got creamy frothy chocolate from the same machine.

How I Choose My Espresso Maker

It can be a bit devastating when making a decision on choosing the best espresso maker. There are various types and brands available in the market, thus finding the best one can be challenging. How do you choose an espresso maker for your office or home? Well, many people consider different factors. The following are the essential factors that you should consider before buying the best espresso maker for your home:

coffee espresso

i. Cost

In most cases, the cost of buying the machine is considered the major factor since it determines on other factors such as the model to buy. Determine your budget clearly before making a decision of purchase a given type of espresso maker. Your budget will determine the type or model of espresso maker to buy.

ii. Ease to use

There are various brands and models of espresso models, each model with a unique way of using them. Some are manual while others are automated. If convenience is your priority, look for an espresso maker with automatic and programmable settings. Ensure that the machine has all the buttons and some other extra intuitive features before buying.

iii. Durability

The material used in making the espresso maker has a significant impact on the strength of the espresso maker. Typically, espresso makers made of metals tends to be long lasting. Similarly, highly automated espresso machines fitted with several electrical parts are likely to require regular repairs compared to manual espresso makers. Many espresso devices come out with a warranty which guarantees the durability level of the apparatus.

iv. Size

There are various sizes of espresso machines ranging from small to big sized models. Ensure to buy an espresso that perfectly fits your kitchen space without relocating another kitchen appliance. For instance, small espresso makers are convenient to people with limited kitchen space(s).

v. Ease of cleaning

It is not convenient to choose a machine which is easier to use but difficult to clean. Before you buy your espresso maker, ensure that you understand the process involved in cleaning. The greater the feature and components an espresso model has, it is likely that it will take more time for you to clean the machine.
Consideration of the above factors and practices will make you decide on high-quality espresso maker for use in your kitchen.

Bought a new stainless steel cookware set

I’ve noticed a lot of people going vegan this year and it’s great. Not only does vegetables and fruits give you a lot of nutrients, it also keeps you happy and healthy. I stopped eating chicken a few years back since I was allergic to them so I went on a plant based diet. It is because of this I started growing my own vegetables and I also bought a new stainless steel cookware set.

The Best Value Stainless Steel Cookware

stainless steel cookware

I got myself the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro 12-Pc Set. Not only were they cheap, they look pretty as well in my kitchen. I must say that my chinese stir-fry vegetables taste so much better now. I advise you to use silicone or wooden utensils to avoid scratching them. Also use a non-abrasive sponge to clean them. I’ve made delicious soups for my family with the 8-quart covered stockpot and they also enjoy cooking at my house. The stockpot is also one of my favourite because it comes with a steamer. I can easily steam my broccolis while making chicken soup.
If you’re finding a new stainless steel cookware set, I’d say buy the Cuisinart Multiclad and if you’re thinking of going vegan, I would be glad that you made the choice. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”.

Cooking with my stainless steel pan

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I was just chilling and watching some videos on YouTube last night and there was a suggested video titled How To Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs – 3 Ways by Jamie Oliver. I really admire how fast it took for him to make three types of eggs under 6 minutes. I couldn’t help but notice that he was using a stainless steel cookware to cook make the eggs. It was a saucepan to be exact. The eggs was served with toasted bread.

Trying New Egg Styles

stainless steel pans

Since I usually make American Scrambled Eggs, I decided to try the English and French Style. I even bought myself a new stainless steel saucepan. That was how excited I was. For the english style, whisk two eggs if you’re serving only one person. Sprinkle salt in the egg mixture and whisk again. Put in a tablespoon of butter in the saucepan. Once melted, pour in the egg mixture. Immediately take a silicone spatula and move it around. Let it rest about 5 seconds before stirring it occasionally. Once you’re satisfied, move the eggs onto your toast.

The French style is a little bit harder. You need to let your egg mixture rest in a bowl over boiling water. The only thing you have to do is whisk it and wait. You will repeat this action about three to four times. When you see small curds appearing, put 2 spoons of butter. Take your silicon spatula and mix it up. After a few seconds, you can eating it. This egg took me 7 minutes to get it cooked. I will definitely try this out again!

Cookware made of stainless steel

In metallurgy stainless steel is an alloy of steel with 10.5% minimum in chromium by mass. When stainless steel is used in cookware, it is durable ,strong and tolerates heat of high levels. These stainless steel cookwares have a lustrous look as well as polish due to the chromium in it. Cookware made of stainless steel has a smooth and shiny appearance hence little time when cleaning them. They are also durable because stainless steel is tough and resists scratches and stains.

stainless steel cookwareWhen buying stainless steel cookware set you should consider to purchase the sets with an copper or aluminium core.this is to ensure for even heat distribution. Also consider the ones which are heavy and most durable with 18% chromium and 10% nickel (18/10) as it is evident that chromium will be rust resistant and shiny. Other features are upon ones interests such as sets with both pots and pans that one need to use often in their meals, sets with handles in lids or knobs for easy removal, and some accessories such as measuring spoons
Below i will give some of the best stainless steel cookware sets.You can check them at Amazon.
I will start with “duxtop ssib-17 professional 17 piece stainless steel induction cookware set impact-bonded Technology” it costs 249.99 dollars. This is made to last for long as it is made with 18/10 commercial stainless steel. its has tempered steel lids with rims made of stainless steel . The satin handles are shaped ergonomically to fit your hands and have a riveted hole for hanging. This set has frying pans, saucepans with lids,cooking fork, large spoon, slotted spatula among others.
Another best stainless steel cookware set is the “Cuisinart mcp-12n multiclad pro Stainless steel 12 piece cookware set” . it heats quickly and distributes evenly and does not have hot spots. it has triple-ply construction which ensures heat conductivity. The set has a soft brushed aluminum finish inside which is good for use in induction cook tops. . it has many other good properties for consideration.
Another best one is the Chefs star professional grade stainless steel cookware set with 17 pieces.It can last for long due to 18/8 stainless steel.has a base with even heat distribution and no hot spots due to impact bonded aluminium.
Other many stainless steel cookware sets that are good and cheaper are available but as you go for one consider what are the properties that you most like to have and the value for your money.

My choices on the best pots and pans in the market

First, I must admit that I love cooking. It is this very same love for cooking that compelled me to set out on a mission to unearth the best pots and pans. I must confess that I was spoilt for choice as I perused through the available ones in the market. My experience with some was not that amazing but I must point out that some had me dig deeper into my pockets to get extra cash and carry them home.

Experience on using these cookware sets

My experience with Cook N Home pots and pans cookware was quite amazing. Complete with pan, spoons, knives and any other necessary equipment, I must say that it was quite awesome. The price is what actually caught my attention. Going for $48.89, it is a great cooking set.

The next cooking set I had a look at was Rachael Ray Cucina Porcelain pots and pans set. Complete with all the necessary equipment, the color is also amazing. It however calls for ultimate cleanliness for whoever buys it. Going for $99.99, the price is a clear reflection of its perfection.

The bright and shinny Cook N Home 12-piece stainless steel also caught my attention. Complete just like the rest, its price was quite affordable. Taking the price not to imply low quality, it was going for $ 54.54 which I would say is quite affordable for a cooking set of its caliber.

A look at Calphalon non stick 10 piece set got me wanting to stop my search immediately. In a great design, it caught my attention and I should say; it was awesome. At a price of $119.99, it is a cooking set you can recommend for a friend. It is also worth the price.

Perhaps it is about time you went out and to get one of these pots and pans cookwares. Be sure to get the best pots and pans for your home. You must consider price as well as quality and the size.

Helpful article: How to choose healthy pots and pans

3 Best Buys – Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

stainless steel pan

For starters, stainless steel is the best choice when choosing cookware. Reason? Because, just like the name suggests, it does not stain easily, compared to other materials like aluminium. I hope we are on the same page now, so we can move together.That said, you will still need to choose your cookware properly, because some companies tend to mold it better than others. You know, just like how one person happens to wear the same dress better than another. It could be where they source their steel or something, I don’t know exactly. I thus decided to do a little reading on stainless steel cookware set reviews, based in my ‘interaction’ with utensils from different companies. I do not own all these, no, but, I, well, go to people’s kitchens- a lot!

Gourmet chef

This is my personal favorite. With a great satisfaction of the non-stick quality, Gourmet Chef scores another plus with their light weight of utensils, yet not too light to wear out quickly. As a sucker for looks, I must admit that their attractive design always has me biased when buying.Downside: every time I have gone shopping, I only see 12-piece sets, irks me when I am looking for an eight or ten piece set. I recommend Gourmet chef for anyone who thinks of cookware as part of their interior decor.
Calphalon classic
My sister and I have a non-ending debate on this. I won’t delve into that, but i have no reason to advise her to change models, because Calphalon is just as nice. Non-stick too, and I must admit I envy it’s ease of cleaning, not to mention it’s availability in sets of almost all numbers.Downside: Calphalon is a bit heavy, and the handles have a feel that is not exactly natural to the hand. My sister thinks I’m biased, but I am saying this in utmost objectivity. If you cook meals that last long on the burner, then this is for you!
Tramontina
If none of us can agree to be moved, then I think we could both settle for Tramontina. Non-stick (that is not debatable) easy-to clean and light. Moreover, Tramontina has what i would call customized handles.Downside: You will have to do more than a surface search to land these. If you are just beginning your love affair with cookware, I say start here. Cookware goes a long way in affecting your mood in the kitchen, so you better have it right from the start. Any one of these is a good buy if you ask me; you can thank me later!!

6 of the Best Restaurants in the World are in the U.S

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Want to eat at the best restaurant in the United States?

Then you need to get to the only restaurant in the U.S. that made the top five on a list of the best places to eat in the world, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

It’s a New York City-based restaurant, once owned by restaurateur Danny Meyer. And it’s among five other American establishments that made this year’s top 50 list.

The annual ranking that, as its namesake says, ranks the best restaurants in the world from votes by nearly 1,000 international restaurant industry experts. The awards and the list are organized and compiled by William Reed Media and were presented Monday evening at an event in London.

 Check out the list to see which six U.S. restaurants made the original list.
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6. The French Laundry
Yountville, Calif.
Cuisine: Modern French-American

Head to California’s Napa Valley to experience tried and true decadence with Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, which came in at No. 50 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

“Cult dishes such as salmon tartare cornet, oysters and pearls (a sabayon of pearl tapioca with oysters and white sturgeon caviar) or coffee and doughnuts remain firm favourites, but the daily changing nine-course tasting menus, including a vegetarian version, continue to evolve with ever-new creations,” the report said.


5. Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Pocantico Hills, N.Y.
Cuisine: Conscious and ingredient-driven

Farm-to-table dining is at its best at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, which ranked No. 49 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, its first time making it onto the list. The restaurant, located roughly 30 miles north of New York City and on a working four-season farm where co-owner and executive chef Dan Barber uses all of the farm’s “bounty” as well as other Hudson Valley-only sourced produce and is also “pushing his own boundaries by growing and cross-pollinating plants to create experimental cultivars.”

Don’t expect to find an actual menu at Blue Hill. Instead guests are offered a tasting menu called “Grazing, Pecking, Rooting” for as many courses as you want.

“Barber has a unique skill in bringing out the very essence of each element on the plate. Dishes are served informally yet ceremoniously, with table theatrics that form part of the restaurant’s educational mission. Before a fish course, for instance, you might be shown a video of its catch,” according to the report.

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4. Per Se
New York, N.Y.
Cuisine: Contemporary French-American

Per Se, sister to the Thomas Keller-owned French Laundry, ranked No. 40 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Certainly not in the shadow of its West Coast sibling, Per Se has three Michelin stars of its own and has been on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since it opened in 2004.

“Keller’s signature dishes, such as oysters and pearls (a sabayon of pearl tapioca with oysters and caviar), are present and correct, but there is also plenty of innovation and creativity,” the report said. “Seasonal American ingredients are fully expressed in ever-evolving recipes that draw on classical French cuisine.”

Will Cheap Air Mattresses Do?

Looking for a full size air mattress that will guarantee you quality sleep throughout the night? Then brace yourself for a tough assignment of distinguishing between the best air mattresses from the cheap and substandard brands which have flooded the market.
guest-bed
Best full-size air mattress choosing guide

  • Whether the mattress inflates and deflates easily?
  • The best mattress is the one that can inflate or deflate easily. It should therefore come with a pump for purposes of inflating and deflating it easily.
  • Is the mattress easy to transport and store?
  • The best mattress should be easy to transport and store. It should therefore come with a carry bag.
  • Does the mattress hold air well during the night?
  • The mattress should hold air well during the night in order to keep it firm and comfortable.
  • Does it come with a warranty?
  • The best mattress should come with a decent warranty that is tailored at covering it for a long duration.

Here are some of the top rated queen size air mattresses.
1. Coleman Quickbed
This mattress features a comfortable coil system that is ideal for great support. It also boasts of a soft plush top that provides this mattress with unmatched luxurious comfort. It features a double lock valve that ensures that the mattress stays inflated throughout the night.

2. Insta-Bed Queen
This mattress features a dual-chamber construction that is ideal for limiting air movement inside it. This is imperative in keeping the bed comfortable and firm. It also includes a carry bag for purposes of storage and transport. It is compatible with most beds since it is easily adjustable. Consumer recommend this air mattress tremendously.

3. Intex Deluxe Pillow Rest
Not even the temperature, location or humidity will affect the firmness of this superb full-size air mattress. It comes with a built-in electric-powered pump that makes inflating and deflating this mattress a walk in the park. It comes with a waterproof flocked top that is not only ideal for preventing water and moisture from penetrating this mattress, but it also comes with spectacular caveats that are ideal for providing support and comfort. Please read the Intex air mattress reviews to keep a breast with the best full-size Intex air mattresses on the market.

More: How to sleep better

This is the best bread maker ever, I highly recommend it.

 

Bread is the oldest product and the stories about it are always inspiring and interesting. The bread is the first thing we put on the table for lunch and something that we are very used to. Although, today we have tons of bread machines that help us making the bread and I think we all have one at home, I would want to explain why I think Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker is the best bread machine 2016.

best-bread

The first thing that should be mentioned is that it is really easy to use. It has three sizes of bread that can be made for you. You can also make not only an ordinary bread out of white flavor, but you can make a bread with grains, sweet bread etc. On the other hand, it has a timer, which allows you to set up the time and just do the other commitments. When it comes to me, I have made a various types of bread since I have it. Because I am a person who wants to explore new tastes and I can assure you, this is the best bread maker. I never regret it since I got it. And you know what the best thing is – the bread has never stuck into the inner side of the bake pan. And we all know how annoying can that be for women. The price was affordable, not too high. I can tell that I have had many other bread makers until now like, Sunbeam, Cuisinart etc., but for my taste, this is the best bread maker ever. I highly recommend it.

So, get it today, don’t hesitate. You will be thankful to yourself. Then you can start experimenting with the flavors and ingredients and you can make the bread that will be just as you imagined it. And you will become your own best baker.

 

 

Good coffee tips for home baristas

You want good strong coffee, like the stuff you find at coffeehouses, minus the hefty price tag, right? Maybe you’ve tried to make it yourself at home without much success. It takes more than just extra coffee grounds to brew a strong, flavorful cup of coffee.

Typical American coffee just isn’t meant to stand up to espresso-strength brewing. It wasn’t roasted or ground for that purpose, so it turns bitter when you use more. To make good strong coffee, the process starts long before the brew cycle. It starts with the right roast and the right grind.

brewing coffee

THE RIGHT ROAST FOR THE RIGHT BREW

For stronger coffee, without the bitterness, start with the roast. The longer a coffee bean roasts, the richer the flavor. Arabica and Columbian beans in darker roasts provide a full-bodied brew well suited for strong coffee. However, French roast, no matter the bean used, is the absolute best for strong coffee lovers.

In terms of darker roasts, the fresher the better. If you’re really adventurous, you can roast your own beans in less than six minutes in an air popcorn popper to ensure you start with the freshest roast possible.

You can find green coffee beans through gourmet grocers and online suppliers. Only use an air popcorn popper or appliances designed to roast coffee beans. Air poppers, for instance, can vent the chaff created from roasting coffee beans.

Pour in a small amount of your chosen green coffee beans, equal to the amount of popcorn kernels recommended for your popper, and turn on the machine. You should hear cracking after the first three minutes. Watch the beans carefully for the next two or three minutes.

Just before they reach the dark color you want, pour them into a colander and shake to cool. Grind the beans as soon as they cool completely.

THE DAILY GRIND MEANS EVERYTHING

If you grind your own coffee, choose a setting that gives you a coarse grind. You don’t want to use a powdery grind to make strong coffee. You want a chunky consistency to get the best strong brew. Be careful not to overheat the beans during grinding, as this can create bitterness later. Don’t grind more than you’re likely to use in a five day period.

Store your grinds in a glass jar with an airtight lid. Keep the jar away from light, not in the fridge or freezer. Coffee is at its absolute best when roasted, ground, and brewed within 24 hours. However, if you store it in an airtight container out of the light, your grounds will stay fresh up to five days.

drink coffee

BREW THE PERFECT CUP

With darker roasts, you do not have to use more grounds to achieve a good strong brew. Since tastes vary, this is the part where you get to experiment to suit your own taste. Start with a ratio of one rounded tablespoon of coffee grounds per six to eight ounces of water. Gradually increase grinds in ½ tablespoon increments until you find the perfect ratio for your tastes and coffee maker.

If you simply cannot abide taking the time to roast or grind your own, you can make standard coffee stronger, to an extent. Buy good quality, pre-ground, pre-packaged coffee in a French roast. Add a pinch of salt to your coffee pot before brewing to eliminate some of the bitterness. It won’t be the same, but it least it won’t be quite as bitter or nasty as the stuff you’ll get by heaping on extra grounds.

Source: http://www.tablespoon.com/posts/good-strong-coffee-tips-for-home-baristas

Your turn: What’s your secret to a great cup of strong coffee?

Favourite Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Recipe

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

Recipe courtesy: Peanut Butter and Banana Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces skim milk or plain soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 medium banana

Directions

  1. Make it: In a blender, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Use 6 ice cubes for a thicker consistency.

Nutrition Information

Servings Per Recipe: 1
PER SERVING: 303 cal., 9 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 45 g carb. (4 g fiber), 16 g pro.

Mushrooms & Parmigiano

Remember the Campbell’s soup jingle, Mm Mm good? That’s kind of how I feel about Merlot. It’s velvety tannins, plum and blackberry flavor and soft character make it easy to enjoy and very popular. It’s one of the “noble grapes” of France or cépage noble and is used as a blending grape but also as a single varietal. It’s planted all over the world and of course its character varies depending on the region.

In France where it’s a primary grape in Bordeaux Merlot tends to have more acidity, in Italy it can be lighter and more herbal, in the US it was so lush and delicious it led to a craze in the 90’s and the quality dropped as winemakers scrambled to plant it everywhere. It’s still the second leading variety planted in California, just behind Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortunately today it’s better than ever. I particularly like Merlot from California and Washington where the best examples combine the fruitiness you expect from a New World wine and yet the structure of an Old World wine.

You might think this wine would only pair well with beef, but it’s actually terrifically versatile and works with much lighter dishes than you might expect. In general, Merlot is a good wine for vegetarian dishes, especially if they have umami flavors (think eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes). I tried the wine with two dishes. It was good with roasted game hens I seasoned only with salt and pepper and some basil leaves under the skin. It was even better with a pasta dish I created with lots of mushrooms and Parmigiana-Reggiano.

Note: Choose a younger Parmigiano-Reggiano for this recipe, since it will melt bettter, preferably 24 months or less.

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Mushrooms & Parmigiano Pasta
by Cooking with Amy
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

4 ounces tagliatelle, spinach or plain
1 Tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces coarsely chopped oyster and cremini mushrooms, about 2 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup broth —chicken, vegetable or mushroom
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 tablespoons reserved
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped flat leaf parsley

Instructions

Boil a pot of water for pasta. Add a pinch of salt and cook the tagliatelle al dente, per package instructions. Drain and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook stirring frequently until mushrooms are beginning to brown, about 3 minutes then add the broth. Cook for a few more minutes or until the liquid is almost completely evaporated. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook and toss to coat with sauce and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with most of the cheese on the pasta, and quickly toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper and garnish with parsley and remaining cheese.

Enjoy!

Now take a look at other interesting post:

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Merlot Shows Its Versatility and Goes +1 With Cheese, Meat, and Chocolate”
David from Cooking Chat shares “Garlic Thyme Tuna Paired with a Merlot”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “#MerlotMe Trifecta for #WinePW”
Michelle from Rockin Red Robin shares “Welcoming Fall with #MerlotMe & #WinePW”

Loaded Potato Wedges Recipe

If I’m being honest, I over-ate by a lot this holiday weekend. Sitting at home with a sick kiddo for a few days will have you asking questions like: Can I finish that tub of ice cream during one episode of Narcos? (Ice cream spoiler: YES. Narcos Spoiler: Cocaine is a helluva drug.)

In fact, I over-ate so much that I actually struggled editing this post. Don’t hold that against these loaded potato wedges though. It’s just that by the time I built up the strength to edit these photos, I was feeling more in the mood for a salad than potato wedges.

But this post isn’t for me. It’s for people that maybe have some level of restraint. It’s also for people who realize that yet another holiday weekend of celebrating is this weekend and maybe you are out of appetizer ideas.

And while you could eat these wedges as a meal or side dish, they are really an appetizer. Having a few is delicious, but having half a sheet pan of them is a bit gluttonous. If you’re hosting a party or a game day this weekend, put these delicious things on the menu!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, wedged
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Bacon, crispy and crumbled
  • Scallions or chives

You could use Russet potatoes for these, but I prefer the softer-skinned new potatoes. Get the larger ones though so you can still make decent wedges. These have less starch and I think they make for a better, crispier wedge.

You should be able to get 10-12 wedges per potato.

loaded-potato-wedges-1

10-12 wedges per tater.

Toss the potatoes with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper!

Basic seasonings.

Spread these out on a  baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I think the parchment paper is really important. It’ll keep the taters from sticking to the sheet while they bake and also keep the whole thing from sticking when you add cheese later.

Also, try to make sure the potatoes aren’t over-lapping too much so they can crisp up.

Spread ’em out!

Bake these things at 400 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes and give them a flip halfway through.

You could stop here and have really solid potato wedges.

Looking good.

The Shingle Method

Assuming you want to take these to the next level though, re-arrange the taters so they are slightly overlapping. This makes  it easier to top them.

I call it the shingle method for obvious reasons.

The single method.

At some point, you’ll also want to get the sauce ready. I just pulsed a ripe avocado with some sour cream, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. If you don’t have a small food processor, you could just mash everything together really well.

Yes please.

Add some grated cheese and crispy bacon to your shingled wedges!

Toppers.

Return these to the oven for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. This is what you’re looking for!

loaded-potato-wedges-8

Oh yea…

Avocado sauce and some chives (or scallions) will finish off the wedges.

Serve them while they are nice and hot!

Okay… I lied about having trouble editing this post… now I’m hungry again!

A recipe shared from http://www.macheesmo.com/loaded-potato-wedges

Going to buy a new knife block set

My old knife set is not a block set. We are shifting to a new house. I have my kitchen done up the way I want, rather than adjust to what the rented accommodations are. I have always wanted my knives to be on kitchen counter top. In fact, I’d prefer it to be near the small table, which gives me a direct view to television programs. I could chop vegetables and meat while watching those programs. This obviously means a block set would be better and to be honest, it looks stylish.
kitchen knives
My requirements are all types of knives, paring is mandatory, so are carving knife and bread knife. If the set has a fork knife, a pair of shears, and a peeler it would complete my requirements, though I could forego a thing or two.

I liked the Wusthof Classic Deluxe set (8 pieces). Though it is expensive, it is one of the best knife block set around. I have used Wusthof knives so I should know. The set includes kitchen shears, cook’s knife with 8″ blade, paring knife with 3.5 inch blade, utility knife with 4.5 inch blade, bread knife with 8 inch blade, and sandwich knife with 6 inch blade. In addition to these, there is sharpening steel of 9 inches. The blades are made from steel but this steel is high carbon variety and includes an alloy that resists any stains. I am impressed with the shape of the blades and the shape of the wooden block. Chopping on board is so easy with knives of this this shape. Moreover, the block makes it easy for me to select the knife I want. Many knife block sets force people to stand up and select, which is not what I intend to do in my new home.

The second set that I liked was also Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme set, which has only 7 pieces. Unlike the Delexe set, which has oak block, the block in this set is made from walnut wood, and the handles are impressive in white color. The advantage of this set for me is that it has 17 slots, which means I could add new knives or other cutlery to it, later on. It is also expensive, but I think this one is worth it as well. I would personally opt for Wusthof knives anytime. Check out the reviews at Lavues.

Knowing the best Aroma rice cookers to buy

Who doesn’t love cooking? cooking is an art and for many people it stands as an healthy hobby.If you often stay at home and crave to cook some delicious recipes, then choosing the right cooker for your kitchen needs is a mandatory. So, here are some few models of the best rice cookers that I would personally recommend. Aroma rice cooker are well known for their best quality and affordable prices.

One among them is ‘The Aroma 12-Cup Sensor Logic rice cooker’. This is an electric cooker with some remarkable sensor technology that could make changes to the heating time based on room temperature.It has a capacity to hold 6 cups of uncooked rice which can yield up to 12 cups of cooked rice.The specialty of this cooker is its saute-then-simmer feature which creates more heat for browning food and turns automatically to simmer when liquid is added.It has a detachable power cable which is seldom found in other cookers.

Another cooker in this brand that I find fascinating is ‘The Aroma ARC-150SB 20-cup rice cooker’. This is the quality product from aroma that has the best value for given money.This cooker comes with an option of only steam.It slowly cooks food with consistent taste from top to bottom and this large cooker comes with digital controls for your ease.

If you are cooking for a small group, then ‘Aroma 6-cup pot-style ARC-743-1NG’ will be suitable.This is the right choice when you are in a budget.The electric cooker offers three different types of color choices;black,red or white which helps you match to the kitchen decor.Additionally, it has one-touch control which makes cooking as easy as touching a switch.This cooker comes with a stream tray which comes out of the main unit and gives greater capacity.Plus, a serving spatula and a rice measuring cup comes along with this cooker.

‘Aroma 8-cup(cooked) digital Rice Cooker and food steamer’ is one cooker that comes with 15-hour delay timer,which helps in easy cooking ahead of time.It has a user-friendly design and comes with recipes,rice measuring cup,serving spatula and steam tray.It is better to go for this if you need a rice cooker that cooks anywhere from 2 to 8 cups of rice.