Starting right about now, I make sure to always have the bowl of my ice cream maker in the freezer, so it’s always frozen and ready for action. In addition to making ice cream, it also works as a great impromptu ice bucket for chilling beverages.
Chili is personal, and you have your favorite recipe. I respect that. I’m not here to argue with your one true chili love.
But I would bet that there are some ways that you could make your tried-and-true recipe even better. I’m just talking about little things to add extra flavor here or give some richness there—small tweaks that, when tallied up, amount to a more fantastic chili.
Some will think cinnamon in chili is an abomination. And I like cinnamon. In ice cream. On apples. In chewing gum. But in chili? It’s worth an experiment – cinnamon can do some interesting things in more savory dishes.
‘Tis the season for Girl Scout cookies, and everyone’s buzzing about a new guide from the folks behind the Vivino wine app, suggesting 12 wines to pair with 12 different types of Girl Scout cookies. Really? We were skeptical, so Gizmodo actually drank wine with Thin Mints and Trefoils. For you.
For starters, pennies aren’t made with as much copper as they used to… Copper is a commodity similar to lumber and oil. It’s price has exploded in the last 10 years. It’s this reason why many new construction homes forgo copper plumbing.
Like Julia Child before me, I enjoy cooking with wine, and find that it works just as well as a companion as it does an ingredient. But every once in awhile I’ll find the wine rack empty. This is unfortunate, but there are a couple of great substitutes already in your pantry perfect for deglazing.
When you buy an expensive car, perhaps a Mercedes or a Tesla, you know for certain you’re getting the best in class. Same goes for homes, and most electronics—the more you pay, the more value you’ll get. But wine is downright personal, and a gold-medal, $150 Rhone red might be elixir of the gods to one person, but not the next, who is happier with an $8.99 zinfandel. The average price of a bottle on Wine Spectator’s 2014 Top 100 list is $47.
Robert Hodgson is a retired professor of oceanography who founded Fieldbrook Winery 40 years ago. He has served as a judge at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition and has been a member of the State Fair’s advisory board since 2003. He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers on the reliability of wine judges and wine competitions—and famously found that often, wine ratings are inconsistent and price has less correlation with taste than you might think.
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.
There are times when seasoning more with more salt, pepper and herbs just isn’t the answer. For those times, a dash of acid usually rounds things out perfectly. Adding an acid (like lemon juice, vinegar or tomatoes) punches up a dish, often completely changing or rounding out the flavors and creating more balance. I cook a lot with grains at home, and if I throw together a ho-hum grain bowl or pasta dish, it’s often a little lemon zest and juice that wakes things up and makes it truly tasty. Citrus also cuts through fat nicely, making heavy bland sauces more delicious.