Make Almost Any Boring Protein Into a Delicious Meal by “Piccata-ing” it

A whole bunch of us grew up eating chicken piccata at Italian-American restaurants with our parents, or at least I did, preceded by an entire serving of fried calamari, and breadsticks too. I’d eat every last little swipe of sauce, excited at how it made the back of my tongue water, at how smooth it felt, at how it draped itself over long strips of pasta. It’s a thrilling sauce. Even more thrilling is the fact that you can use it on any protein that goes well with lemon and wine. (Even tofu and chickpeas!)

Source: How to Piccata Anything

This would work with a number of standard chicken dishes, just apply the sauce to whatever other meat you’re eating, even hot dogs and hamburgers.

You Don’t Need to Boil Your Pasta, Just the Water

Most instructions for cooking dried pasta are invariably the same: Drop the noodles into a pot of boiling water, bring it back to a boil, and keep it bubbling vigorously until the pasta is done. We already broke with this conventional wisdom by showing that you can cook pasta in a lot less water than is typically called for, as long as you don’t mind stirring it frequently.

Now we’ve learned that you don’t need to hold your pasta water at a rolling boil either. In fact, you don’t even need to keep the pot on the heat. The pasta will cook just fine if you take the pot off the burner as soon as you add the pasta, cover it immediately, stir once or twice during the first minute, cover again, and leave it to sit for the recommended cooking time. We tested this method with spaghetti, shells, farfalle, and ziti, using the full 4 quarts of water recommended per pound, and we found that the texture was identical to that of pasta we boiled the conventional way.

Source: What Is Low-Temp Pasta?

Don’t forget that you can bring that water to a boil faster if you microwave half of it first.  And know why to use cold water, rather than hot.

Soak Pasta Instead of Boiling It for Easier Baked Pasta Dishes

Here’s something I’ve always wondered: when baking pasta, as in, say, lasagna or baked ziti, why do you always cook the pasta first? Aren’t you inviting trouble by cooking it once, then proceeding to put it in a casserole and cooking it again? Well, there’s the obvious first part of the answer to this question: pasta needs to absorb water as it cooks—a lot of water, around 80 percent of its own weight when perfectly al dente. So, add raw pasta directly to a baked pasta dish, and it will soften all right—it’ll also suck up all of the moisture from the sauce, leaving it dry or broken.

Source: The Food Lab: For Easier Baked Ziti, Soak, Don’t Boil Your Pasta

I thought the pasta drew moisture from the sauce.  It does… resulting in dry sauce. I’ve always wondered about those pastas marketed as not needing to be boiled first—how are they different from regular pasta or is this just some marketing ploy? Anyway, traditionally recipes recommend boiling the pasta first.

This Is How Bleached Flour Changes The Taste of Your Cakes

You’ve seen labels advertising “unbleached” flour. Few labels announce that their flour is “bleached,” but that’s exactly what happens to most white flour. It’s not just about the color, though—it’s an actual chemical change. Here’s how it works and why your cakes just wouldn’t taste the same without it.

Source: This Is How Bleached Flour Changes The Taste of Your Cakes

Baking is easy to get wrong because it is really just particularly finicky applied organic chemistry.  Cooking is an art. Baking, a science.

How to Avoid the Dreaded “Carb Coma”

Carb-heavy meals are notorious for making you hungry and cranky later in the day, not to mention gaining weight. But if you really want to eat your pasta and potatoes, you can make the meal easier for your body to deal with by adding other food to it. Pancakes and bacon are a better bet than pancakes alone.

Source: How to Avoid the Dreaded “Carb Coma”

Related read: If I Eat Steak then Pineapple – Which is Digested First?

Thicken Soup with Blended White Beans for a Gluten-Free Alternative

While some broths are destined to remain thin and wispy, other soups taste best when served thick and creamy. But what do you do when it’s too late to add a slurry to a meaty soup? Or you’re gluten-free and must skip flour and bread? Or are vegan and don’t like the idea of butter in your soup?

The answer to all these culinary obstacles lies in white beans. Blended white beans.

Source: Here Is My Favourite Gluten-Free Way to Thicken Soup

Roasted carrots would help thicken too, while sweetening.

For a moment, I thought the recipe suggested navy beans – which contain a low dose of vitamin K (1 mcg of vitamin K per cup).  But cannellini beans have:

  • 1 tablespoon/12 grams of white beans contains 0.7 mcg of vitamin K – 1% Daily Value (DV)
  • 1 ounce/28 grams of white beans contains 1.6 mcg of vitamin K – 2% DV
  • 100 grams of white beans contains 5.6 mcg of vitamin K – 7% DV
  • 1 cup/202 grams of white beans contains 11.3 mcg of vitamin K – 14% DV

The example recipe calls for 0.25 cup, so roughly 50 grams.  That’s likely to be around 3 mcg of vitamin K, or 3% DV.  Be aware so you can be careful!

Researchers Finally Solve The Mystery Of Exactly How Popcorn Pops

Popcorn: it’s equally fun to make and to eat. But just what makes each kernel pop the way it does and what is the ideal temperature for popcorn to pop at? A new study answers all these questions.

“Popcorn is the funniest corn to cook, because it jumps and makes a ‘pop’ sound in our pans,” begin the researchers in their new article in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Indeed! But the knowledge about to dropped has only just begun, as the researchers explain that though the basics of popcorn popping are understood, the precise mechanics of the process remain shrouded in mystery:

Source: Researchers Finally Solve The Mystery Of Exactly How Popcorn Pops

Want to test?  I have a recipe for Carnival Kettle style.  Or keep it vegan/vegetarian with some brewer’s yeast.  Just a kernel of knowledge…