Make milk foam with no expensive coffee machine


For a cappuccino lover like me, it's a huge frustration not to be able to prepare my favorite coffee at home. The issue? Milk foam. In coffee shops, the milk foam is made using one of the functions of those huge coffee machines that cost a fortune. No one buys those things except the ultra-rich coffee addicts and fancy coffee shop owners. And I am neither so I only get to … [Read more...]

No, frying fish is not the same as frying SPAM


Why is there a separate "how to cook" section? Because that, for me, is more important than recipes. I can almost see you pausing and wondering what the heck that means. Isn't a recipe essentially a how to cook guide? No, it isn't. A recipe is a list of ingredients and a procedure. A recipe is something you follow. A recipe does not teach you to let your imagination soar … [Read more...]

How to toast nuts (and why you should)


When a recipe calls for nuts, it usually says toasted nuts. It's not just in baking but nuts for toppings, for salads and even for snacking. Why? Does it really make a lot of difference whether the nuts are toasted or not? Oh, yes, it does. And the difference lie in the texture, the aroma and the flavor. When nuts are toasted, they release their oil making them more … [Read more...]

Are mushroom stems edible?


Generally, yes, mushroom stems are edible. Not that I've had the pleasure of trying all edible mushrooms but, among those that I've tried including the ubiquitous button mushrooms (white and brown), oyster mushrooms, bunashimeji, portobello, straw mushrooms, Eryngii, abalone and Enoki, the stems are as succulent as the caps.I take exception only with shiitake (a.k.a. … [Read more...]

How to make bread bowl soup


Strictly speaking, you don't cook bread bowl soup. You cook soup and serve it in a bread bowl. The bread bowl is any crusty round bread that had been hollowed out. The soup can be any soup although I find that the thick ones make a better filling for bread bowls.So, let's make a bread bowl soup. What do I mean by "thick" soups that make great filling for bread bowls? … [Read more...]

Perfect fried empanadas


I really can't decide which I like better -- baked or fried empanadas. The part of me that hates frying because of the inevitable oil splatters and the clean-up that follows says baked empanadas are better. But there's also that part of me that adores the puffy, flaky, ultra crisp crust that is only possible with deep frying. So, having baked empanadas many times before, I … [Read more...]

How to make mustard (yellow sauce)


We call the yellow sauce that we often slather on our hotdogs mustard. But there's really a lot more than mustard in the sauce. And mustard isn't always yellow. The plain mustard sauce isn't yellow because of the mustard even if yellow mustard seeds are used. Turmeric is added to add the tint. And if you use brown, red or black mustard seeds, the sauce will not have the … [Read more...]

Plain cream cheese: endless possibilities


How do you make a sandwich? I grew up with mayonnaise. Spread mayo on a slice of bread, top with a slice of cold meat (ham, most of the time), cover with another slice of bread and that was it. Even eggs were paired with mayo. You know, egg salad? Mash hard-boiled eggs, season with salt and pepper, mix in mayo... Even shredded chicken and canned tuna went with mayonnaise. … [Read more...]

Does dumpling meat filling have to be raw before wrapping?


To make the dumpling filling stick to the wrapper, it has to be sticky. That's really the main reason why the meat is minced and a little flour or starch is optionally added as a binder. If the filling is wet (i.e., watery) rather than sticky, as is the case with already cooked meat, the filling will pull away from the wrapper during steaming or frying.There are, of … [Read more...]