I started my first restaurant job at 14, and, by 18, the Book of Yields was my grimoire. I learned how to stop profits from vanishing into thin air, how to maximize every return. If you’re in this industry long enough, battling food cost simply becomes a way of life. Particularly in the realm of pastry, where wildly expensive necessities often break the curve—fresh cream and butter, imported chocolate and vanilla, flats of local eggs and fat spring strawberries.
Which is how I stumbled into the habit of making fresh lemon syrup from leftover lemon rinds, just the sort of thing a penny-pinching pastry chef would come up with at home. Home, because in my restaurant days, I’d always zest my lemons before juicing, or else carefully peel them for candy, so I never felt too bad about pitching the pithy rinds. But, living outside the pastry dungeon, my resentment of having to pay retail for citrus has grown to an all-time high, while my need for candied peel has hit an all-time low.
Whatever your stance on cake mixes, you can agree on one thing: they can always stand a little improvement. Thankfully, mixes are incredibly easy to soup up; substitute an ingredient here or add an ingredient there, and you’ll have all the flavor of a homemade cake, with all the ease of a boxed mix. Here are eight awesome ways to make your boxed cake mix taste homemade.
Citrus fruit may taste like sunshine, but the colder months of the year are when the happy tasting delights are in season. You’re surely familiar with oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits, but what about blood oranges or Buddha’s hand? There are a ton of more interesting specimens available, and these are some of the best.
Citrus fruits, like all the orange varieties, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, truly are winter’s shining stars. With varying degrees of sweetness, tart, tang, and bitterness, these bright fruits have a knack for brightening winter’s coldest days.
Of course, you can eat them out of hand, or turn them into cocktails, vinaigrettes, and baked goods, but one of the very best ways to put that citrus to work right now is by making a sweet and tangy curd.
We’re not too proud to admit that sometimes our kitchens can get a little…funky. From blackberry caramel sauce to soy-glazed chicken thighs to homemade ramen, sometimes even the most intoxicating scents can linger. After a day or two of “Hey, what’s that smell?” we realize that somewhere along the way, last night’s dinner has become today’s awful stench.
And hey: There’s no shame in admitting we’ve got a problem. It’s all in how you handle it. We here at Bon Appétitprefer to take care of business the old-fashioned way. Sure, harsh chemicals might work in cleaning up a mess, but they leave behind a scent that, in our opinion, can be just as bad as that questionable kimchi. So we rounded up our best folk remedies for ridding your kitchen of even the weirdest, worst smells. Here are our favorites…
The recipe calls for half-and-half – effectively off limits for lactose intolerant, and depending on strictness – vegetarianism. There is vitamin K in half-and-half too – we don’t get out unscathed either.
Evaporated milk is not condensed milk. Or, I need to find a recipe that uses evaporated milk… 😉
All traditional ice cream has a custard base (cream, milk, sugar, and egg yolks). For more information on that, see this NYTimes article. The difference between frozen custard and ice cream is mainly two things (and one of them is not a non-custard base): 1) milk fat percentage; and 2) serving temperature.
The fruit fly one is interesting. …Not that I have a need for it… 😉
How/why does this work? What does the vinegar do?
Vinegar is about 90% water, and about 5-10% acetic acid. Most scented molecules contain a functional group like an amine (putrescine, for example, one of the rotting smells), a thiol (ethanethiol, i.e. skunk smell), or other non-carbon molecules. Acetic acid can bind these to form molecules that your nose can not detect, thus eliminating the odor. Even if it’s not forming an actual chemical bond, it can still coordinate (i.e. form hydrogen bonds, which are pretty strong themselves. It’s analogous to dissolving.) thus removing the scented molecules from the air, woodwork, carpet, etc.
Your pan should already have a tablespoon or so of fat in it (leftover from browning your meat); if it doesn’t, supplement with olive oil. Now add an aromatic or two to the pan: A couple of smashed garlic cloves or a sliced shallot; a sturdy fresh herb, like thyme or rosemary. Give them a few minutes over gentle heat so they release their flavors.
This is essentially making a gravy for your leftovers, which is a straightforward enough idea, but I like that this recipe is so simple and quick, and you can make it straight from the pan after reheating left over food.