Pancakes, waffles, and French toast are all great, but these breakfast basics are really just a vessel for us to eat more maple syrup, right? While unflavored maple syrup is a delight in its own right, every now and then it can be a real treat to dress it up.
Flavoring maple syrup is a fun way to make breakfast an adventure. Here are five delicious ways to do it.
I did something similar recently. I made some blackberry sauce by simmering frozen blackberries with a little water and mushing them through a strainer to get out the seeds. Then I heated the sauce with a shot of my homemade vanilla rum and some maple syrup.
Gan bian si ji dou—Sichuan-style dry-fried green beans with chilies and pickles—are one of the best and most mistranslated vegetable dishes in the world. The real version should be bright and light, featuring beans with blistered skins and snappy interiors and tossed with chili-flavored oil, Sichuan peppercorns, scallions, garlic, ginger, and chopped preserved mustard root. It’s a pretty far cry from the oily, drab, pork-smothered versions you find in Chinese take-out joints. While a bit of minced pork is not totally out of the question, it’s hardly a required ingredient.
My motto in life? Give me toast, or give me death. That’s a bit of stretch, but not too far given I’m very fond of the stuff and eat a slice of it every morning. Mostly I’m a swipe of Kerrygold kind of girl. Definitely an add a sprinkle of salt before taking a bite kind of girl, but now, I’m a don’t forget the ginger kind of girl. Because ginger has made my butter better.
Instead of transferring it to the boiling pot, you could combine this tip with Alton Brown’s pour-over method to really take your rice to the next level. Either way, it’s an easy enough step, and it makes for extra tasty rice.
There are the ingredients that wax and wane in the kitchen. The ingredients that somehow find themselves in every meal or are left to collect cobwebs in the corner of cabinets and grow soft in the back of the fridge. But not ginger — never ginger. This rhizome, often described as a root, is often used in my kitchen as a way to bring heat to a dish without reaching for a pepper — I just have to be sure to reach for the right one.
Freeze it. When you need it, grind it. The first thing you’ll notice is that the stringy part is no longer stringy and grinds right off. The second thing you’ll notice is that you’ll have fresh tasting ginger even when you keep it in the freezer for months. After more than half a year, there’s still no freezer burn or shriveled up ginger.
You probably already know that toasting spices or sizzling them in oil or butter helps their flavor bloom—and the same principle applies for baking, too. For recipes that call for melted butter, just heat that butter with whole or crushed spices, like a split vanilla bean, a broken cinnamon stick, or a few crushed whole cloves or cardamom pods. With heat, the essential oils from the spices make their way into the browned butter and the two swirl around and become one tasty mess. Besides spice, this method creates toasty depth in the butter, a guaranteed flavor booster.
As the leaves start to change color and cheery pumpkins show up on doorsteps, summer seems like a distant memory and we’re smack-dab in the middle of fall. And while pumpkin spice-flavored treats make their appearance just about, well, everywhere, do you even know what it contains? Here’s what it is and why you should make it at home. (Hint: It’s as easy as it gets!)
Any bar worth its rimming salt should be stocked with at least a couple of bottles of bitters. Sure, you can make a cocktail without them, but you can also roast a chicken without salt or pepper. Like these everyday seasonings, cocktail bitters add flavor and depth to almost any beverage, and making your own allows you to put a unique stamp on every cocktail you serve.
I urge you to think of bitters as a sort of “cocktail spice rack”, and to think of every cocktail as a choose-your-own-adventure type of situation. Homemade bitters are so easy to make (you just throw stuff in jars) that there’s no reason not to have a bottle to suit each and every one of your whims. Plus, they make great, super thoughtful gifts. (It’s September, everyone, which means it is just about time to start stressing about the holidays.)
No matter how good you think they would be, never try to eat the fruit soaked for bitters. 😉
If you find yourself at a bar unable to afford decent bourbon (or the well sludge is on happy hour) ask for a splash of aromatic bitters with your drink. Turns a really crappy bourbon into a mediocre-to-poor bourbon, and they’ll never upcharge you for it.