The Dimple in the Bottom of Wine Bottles? 

wine-punts-inside-2.jpg

Are they trying to shortchange you some milliliters of vino? Most likely no. But the real reason isn’t entirely clear.

Wine bottles are elegant. Their sloped necks come to a gentle peak. They’re supported by a stout but the understated trunk of a bottle. The color, typically rich sap green, absorbs color and emits a warm glow in the light of a kitchen or bar. The bottles themselves are sometimes as much a work of art as the wine that’s inside them.

But there’s one bit of the typical wine bottle that remains elusive: the bottom. The “dimple” or bulge at the bottom of many wine bottles is known as the “punt,” and it’s not entirely clear why it exists.

Wine bottles have had punts as long as the earth has had wine bottles, it seems, and until we have the capability to time travel, we’re left to wonder how the tradition of wine punts started and, perhaps more importantly, why we still do it today.

Do punts help winemakers cheat you of wine?

No, most punts are so small you’re not losing a single teaspoon. Some, yes, are more pronounced, but if this were really used as a cost-saving measure, you could bet most bottles would have exaggerated punts to make a good season’s wine supply stretch a bit more.

Are punts a sign of quality?

If you do a quick Google search on the theories behind wine bottle punts, you’ll quickly stumble across speculation that suggests higher quality wines have bigger punts because the bottle is more stout and sturdy. (More glass is needed for the longer punt, the theory goes, and wealthy winemakers can afford the more expensive bottles.) That’s just simply not true. A punt will tell you as much about the quality and taste of wine as the label will. That is to say, very little.

Do punts help wines cool faster?

This holds some merit. Punts increase surface area, so bottles in fridges or buckets of water might cool faster. But this theory is busted when you realize punts have been present on wine bottles long before anyone had heard of coolant for a refrigerator or even ice for that matter. So while it may help get your whites crisp and cool today, that’s not why punts exist.

Do punts collect sediment?

They actually do, but that’s not likely the reason they’re there. Sediment forms at the bottom of bottles as wine sits and ages. If you decant the wine, the sediment may remain in the valleys between the punt and bottle wall. That can help with flavor.

However, there’s no guarantee the sediment stays in place. It’s a happy byproduct of the punt’s existence, but it doesn’t seem that’s why punts were used in the first place.

So why do wine bottles have punts?

Truthfully, beats us. The best theory seems to be that wine bottle makers of yore needed a way to make sure their bottles stood flat on a table. The bottoms of hand-blown bottles may round out slightly as they cool. They may even have a sharp point because of the tools the glassblower uses. To keep this from happening (and bottles of wine from teeter-tottering off the table), glassblowers could have pushed up ever so slightly to create what we know today as the punt.

Now that most wine bottles are made by machine and are far sturdier than bottles made decades and centuries ago, the punt isn’t perhaps necessary. Instead, it seems to be a vestige of bygone days.

 

The Dimple in the Bottom of Wine Bottles? 

Things Your Dishwasher Could Do

Here, several household items you can wash in your dishwasher that you may not have considered before.

Sanitize Kid and Pet Toys

The two creatures may walk differently and eat different things, but their toys can be hotbeds for germs and dirt. Plastic toys can be washed easily in a normal dishwasher cycle. For small toys (think: building blocks), consider putting the toys in a mesh bag first. And don’t try to wash pet toys that have rope, hide, or fabric. They likely won’t sustain the wash well.

Steam Vegetables and Fish

I’m not saying this is an optimal way to cook dinner, but if you find yourself without an oven (or just feel up to a fun challenge), you can actually make dinner in your dishwasher. Tightly wrap quick-cooking vegetables like asparagus, squash, and carrots in aluminum foil with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Wash in a hot cycle without soap. The heat and steam will tenderize the food.

You can do the same for packets of fish like salmon or halibut, en papillote-style. Thinner cuts will cook more evenly than thick pieces like cod or grouper. The hot temperature and water help to steam the fish inside the packets.

Rinse Your Garden Haul

After a trip to your garden or local farmers market, you may come back with a bounty of fruit and vegetables that need to be washed before cooking or storing. You can stand over the sink and wash each piece by hand, or you can load up the trays of your dishwasher for a quick cold-water cycle.

Place delicate things like tomatoes or berries on the top shelf or away from spinning arms. Hardy foods like root vegetables and potatoes can sustain the pressure of the bottom shelf.

You don’t need to use any soap, though feel free to use food-safe produce washes. Even a touch of vinegar in the detergent cap is OK for the rinse.

Keep Food Warm

When you need to keep cooked food warm but find yourself short on oven space (or without those warming drawers I’ve heard so much about), consider putting food in your dishwasher to keep it warm. Your dishwasher is essentially a large hot box if you think about its construction. It’s meant to keep the heat of hot water and drying mechanisms contained inside the machine so you can use that thermal capacity to your benefit.

If you need extra heat, you can run a drying cycle (no water) to heat up the food and dishwasher. Just be sure a rinse cycle won’t run before the drying cycle begins. No one likes a water-logged casserole.

Make Household Items Like New

Sticky vent fans, dusty flowers, dingy light fixture bulbs—all of these items can be easily washed in your dishwasher. The thick layer of dust that often settles on these out-of-sight-out-of-mind items needs to be rinsed away, but hand washing can be time-consuming. Use your dishwasher’s cleaning powers for good.

Be careful to not put thin glass items, heirlooms, or antiques in the dishwasher. Those should still be washed by hand.

Anything else should make it through a typical dishwasher cycle with no problem. If you have a lot of glass, consider using the gentle cycle so the shaking and rattling don’t cause any of the fixtures to bump into one another and crack.

Sanitize Kitchen Sponges

The thing you use to clean your kitchen needs to be cleaned, too. Instead of microwaving your sponge (which you can do for 60 seconds on high), just place the sponge in your next load that will end in a sanitizing cycle. The hot water and temps will kill lingering bacteria and make the sponge safe to use again.

If the sponge is small or the openings in your dishwasher trays are large, consider putting it in the silverware basket for safe keeping.

Make Dirty Shoes Shine

Rubber shoes like flip-flops, rain boots, and water shoes can be easily washed in your dishwasher. Canvas-topped sneakers with rubber soles can be safely washed in there, too. For added odor-busting measure, sprinkle the inside with a bit of baking soda the night before you plan to wash. Turn the shoe upside down over the garbage before you wash to remove any remaining residue.

To prevent water pooling, place these shoes horizontal to the dishwasher’s spraying arms. Be sure to remove any liners or orthopedic inserts. Don’t run the drying cycle. Put the shoes in a warm place to dry. It may take several days, but they’ll be like new again—or at least almost.

Things Your Dishwasher Could Do

Save Your Soup?

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Don’t pour your too-salty soup, stew, or sauce down the drain fix it by trying these clever tricks instead.

Here’s a familiar scenario: You’re making a batch of homemade chicken soup for dinner. The recipe calls for two teaspoons of salt but all of a sudden, the salt shaker gets away from you. You realize you’ve added way more than the recipe actually needs. Crossing your fingers no one will notice, you give the soup a taste.

Yuck. Too salty.   

No! You don’t have to throw in the towel just yet. Luckily, there’s more than one way to fix a batch of too-salty soup, chili, chowder, stew, pasta sauce, and more. However, some methods work better than others and some don’t really work at all. Below, find several ways you may have heard for fixing over-salted food, and which ones work the best.

Increase the amount of non-salty ingredients.

This solution is labor-intensive, but it’s also the most effective way to diminish an overly salty flavor from a dish. By increasing the quantity of your main non-salty ingredients, the concentration or flavor of the salt will diminish.

So you’re making a creamy Carrot-Ginger Soup, increasing the number of carrots and ginger should help tame all of that saltiness. However, keep in mind that you’re basically re-making the entire dish again, which is a bit of work.

Add salt-free stock or water.

If you’re dealing with a salty soup or sauce, adding salt-free stock or water is the quickest way to fix it. Make sure to choose an appropriately flavored stock (i.e. don’t use beef stock in a chicken soup) so you don’t completely alter the recipe.

Or, if it is a chunky soup, drain and discard about half of the salty broth, leaving the vegetables and meat. Replace the discarded broth with new stock or water. Additionally, you can further decrease the concentration of salt by adding more vegetables and/or meat to your doctored soup.

Mask the saltiness with an acidic or sweet ingredient.

Depending on how oversalted the dish actually is, you may be able to use other strong flavors to bring down the perception of the saltiness. Adding an acidic or sweet ingredient may help downplay the saltiness, but you’ll likely create a completely new dish in the process. Here are a few ideas:

Acidic: Lemon, vinegar, lemon or lime zest, tomatoes

Sweet: Fruit, carrots, honey, sugar

If you have the time and flexibility, this experiment is worth a try, but bear mind that it may or may not save you from tossing the entire thing.

Add a whole potato—or not.

Sorry when you want to fix a dish that’s too salty, adding a potato just won’t do the trick. Believe what you want, but potatoes are not magical‚ and certainly not capable of selectively sucking the salt out of your soup.

In his wonderful book on food science, What Einstein Told His Cook, Robert Wolke actually proves scientifically that adding a potato does not alter the concentration of salt in the water. (Give it a read it to find out exactly how he does it!) So save your precious potatoes and make the Perfect Baked Potato or these Silky-Smooth Mashed Potatoes instead.

 

Save Your Soup?

 Useful Things I Learned in the Kitchen

There are definitely cooking “rules”. But there are lots of things that were drilled into me in school and later in restaurants that I still swear by to this day, and use in my kitchen at home.

The time, money, and commitment of culinary school aren’t worth it for everyone, but there are certain culinary school tips and techniques that anyone can put into practice at home without spending a single day in (or dime on!) a white chef’s coat. Here are the most useful things I learned.

1. Sharpen your knives.

The first thing we did in culinary school was learning how to chop carrots and onions. The second thing? Learn how to properly sharpen a knife. It’s important to realize that a sharp knife makes chopping so much faster and easier. (Plus, you don’t need to use as much force when your knife is sharp, which means it’s safer, too.) Plenty of kitchen specialty stores, like Sur La Table, will sharpen your knives for a reasonable price — so it’s worth bringing them in when they’re getting dull.

2. Use the right peeler for the job.

If peeling vegetables feels like it takes forever, it’s probably because you’re using the wrong peeler. My advice? Throw away the rusty swivel one that’s been sitting in your drawer for years and order a three-pack of these Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peelers. They’re a culinary school favorite for a reason: The Y-shape makes them more comfortable to handle, and a sharp peeler makes food prep way easier. They’re also cheap enough so that when one gets dull, you can switch it out for a new one.

3. Embrace the practice of mise en place.

The French term translates to “putting in place,” and it refers to getting all of your ingredients out, measured, and prepped before you start cooking. This is how restaurant kitchens get food out so quickly and efficiently. And while you don’t need to be quite so exacting at home, it’s much easier to follow a recipe when your ingredients are all ready to go in advance.

4. Dry meat and fish with paper towels before you cook it for extra-crispy skin.

In fact, you should be drying meat and fish with paper towels before you cook it no matter what. For skin to crisp, you need to get rid of as much moisture as possible — because moisture and steam kill any chance of crisping and browning. This will also prevent the meat and skin from sticking to the pan as it cooks, which is the absolute worst.

5. Don’t default to always cranking up the heat.

Even if you want food in a hurry, ramping up the heat to high isn’t always the best way. Slowly sautéing aromatics like onions, shallots, or garlic in oil over medium-low heat will bring out more flavor and will keep them from burning and getting bitter. Cooking meat or veggies over medium heat will give them time to cook all the way through without burning on the outside. Simmering soups or braises instead of boiling them will cook the ingredients and meld the flavors without making meat tough, or breaking veggies apart.

6. Put some thought into how you cut your vegetables.

Those fancy vegetable cuts you see in nice restaurants? There’s a reasoning behind them besides just looking impressive. Smaller cuts will cook quicker than big ones, so using a mix of both can vary the texture of a dish. And veggies cut on a diagonal will be al dente on the thicker end and soft on the thinner end, which can make them more satisfying to eat.

7. Give yourself enough space to prep, even in cramped kitchens.

Space is tight in restaurant kitchens especially.  Give yourself enough space by clearing the countertop of everything you’re not using appliances, flower vases, mail you put down and forgot about before you start.

8. Clean as you go.

You’ve heard this before, but a clean station is so much easier to work in. Wipe down your cutting board after you finish prepping each ingredient. Put pots, pans, and utensils in the sink or dishwasher as soon as you’re done using them. And wash your hands often.

9. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Food can’t caramelize or brown in a crowded pan. A handful of sliced mushrooms cooked in a hot pan with a layer of oil will come out brown, crisp, and deeply flavored. A whole pint of sliced mushrooms cooked in the same pan and the same oil will come out pale, gray, soggy, and far less flavorful. Same goes for roasted vegetables on a sheet pan, or browned meat in a cast iron skillet. Piling ingredients on top of each other create moisture that gets trapped which means your food will steam instead of crisping or browning.

 

10. Get yourself a bench scraper.

I often see beginner cooks use their knife to scrape whatever they’ve finished chopping across their cutting board and into a bowl. Don’t do that! Not only is it a bit dangerous, but it’ll also quickly dull your blade. Instead, invest in a $4 bench scraper and use it to scoop up food scraps and transfer things from your cutting board to pots and pans.

11. Know your fats — and what each can (and can’t) do.

Butter is delicious, and we used a lot of it at my French-based culinary school. But butter can’t stand up to high heat since the milk solids in it (which make it delicious) can burn. All oils aren’t created equal, either. Neutral oils, like canola or vegetable oil, don’t add any flavor but are perfect for high-heat methods like roasting, frying, and pan-searing because they can stand up to high temperatures without burning. Flavorful oils like high-quality olive oil, avocado oil, and pumpkin seed oil are less suited for high heat and are better used in salad dressings, or for finishing dishes once they’re cooked.

12. Baste fish to keep it moist as it cooks.

Basting pan-seared fish is one fancy trick I swear by. When your fish is almost cooked, add a big pat of butter to the pan and let it melt. Turn the heat down and gently spoon the melted butter over the fish. The hot butter will cook the top of the fish without drying it out, and it’ll add a ton of flavor.

13. Never toss leftover bones or veggie scraps.

When it comes to making stock, leftover bones and scraps are kitchen gold. You can make chicken stock with nothing but bones if you want. You can also make beef stock with beef bones, fish stock with fish bones and scraps, and so on. Not only is it cheaper than buying stock, but it’s also often tastier, and lets you cut down on waste. These days, I collect bones and vegetable scraps in a sealed gallon bag in my freezer, then make a few quarts of stock every time the bag fills up. You should, too!

14. When in doubt, add salt.

You know you like salt, but did you ever stop to think about why? Salt brings out the flavor, which means well-salted food tastes more like itself than under-salted food. To really maximize all the flavors in a recipe, season with a bit of salt every time you add a new ingredient.

15. And if you added too much salt? Add acid.

If something tastes too rich or heavy, a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can liven it up. Acid also cuts through salt, so if you’ve accidentally over-salted something just a little bit (which, to be honest, happens often in culinary school), you can usually save it by adding acid.

Your turn! What’s your most useful all-purpose tip for the kitchen?

 Useful Things I Learned in the Kitchen

Romaine Could Be Hiding

1804w Romaine Lettuce

Americans are being told to avoid romaine lettuce at all costs for the second time this year, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new outbreak of E. coli associated with the leafy green in 11 different states. Earlier this spring, it took federal investigators upwards of six months to track down where a similar outbreak, which claimed the lives of five individuals and sickened more than 200. This latest announcement by the CDC, coming Thanksgiving week, is a blanket ban on all forms of the lettuce, and details have yet to emerge beyond the fact that it has caused 30 plus individuals to fall ill.

Currently, the CDC is advising that any romaine is disposed of or avoided, regardless of when or where it was harvested. Many of you seemed prepared to do so—Cooking Light readers shared their frustrations in the comments section of a Facebook post yesterday, with many expressing that they had already consumed romaine recently.

CDC Recommends Blanket Ban on ALL Romaine Lettuce, E. coli Discovered Once Again
Do not eat any form of romaine lettuce from any region, CDC warns.

With federal investigators unable to pinpoint an exact source of the outbreak yet, the risk of E. coli poisoning—and the chance of developing HUS, a rare form of kidney failure associated with a toxin in this viral E. coli strain—is particularly troublesome to many shoppers.

Some retailers have previously gone to great lengths to remove tainted romaine lettuce from their shelves, but romaine lettuce is a ubiquitous ingredient and can be found in many ready-to-eat products. In the coming weeks, as investigators work to discover what is causing illnesses in what’s sure to be more than just 11 states, taking the time to thoroughly check your meals for romaine could help you stay safe.

Salad Greens and Salad Bar

If you’re dining out, be sure to ask your server about any use of romaine in the food’s preparation (even if it’s not evident) and if the establishment has updated their menus. Pour over any ingredient list on pre-made or frozen food products to ensure that romaine isn’t a concern. And when you’re in the supermarket, check these eight products for romaine lettuce to be sure that all are safe for consumption:

1) Salad Bars

Whole Foods Salad Bar Tongs
Whole Foods

You may be anxious to visit a salad bar, and for good reason—E. coli bacteria can transfer on contact, so take good care when eating from any salad bar in the coming days. On the off chance that your supermarket has yet to dispose of romaine, do not buy ingredients in proximity to romaine, and remember that self-serve utensils can easily become cross contaminated. This is a good time to make romaine-free salads at home.

2) Bagged Salad Mixes

1808w Chopped Salads Aldi
The CDC was careful to include this in their bulletin: bagged mixes like Fresh Express’ “American” blend contains chopped romaine, which could be contaminated with E. coli.

3) Ready-to-Eat Salads

mcdonalds-salad

Many supermarkets, as well as fast-casual chains and other food retailers, sell pre-made salads that have been massed produced in the last month. Double check the ingredient list before enjoying pre-made salads, even if you can’t see romaine in the container upon first glance.

4) Ready-to-Eat Sandwiches and Wraps

Lettuce is in nearly all pre-made sandwiches, and so it goes without saying to check these before buying. Lettuce wraps, as well as tortilla-based wraps, are of concern.

5) Grain Bowls and Noodle Bowls

Retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s offer a full selection of ready-to-eat entreés in their deli selections, including noodle bowls and grain bowls that contain lettuce.

6) Green Juice and Blended Beverages

lean and green smoothie

You should take time to inspect all smoothies and blended beverages for romaine—while V8 juice contains an ambiguous “lettuce” callout on the ingredient list, some ready-to-drink beverages—especially green juices—contain romaine alongside servings of kale and spinach. This might also be a good time to make blended green juice at home, where you can swap romaine for other hearty greens.

7) Soup

This is rarer than other items on this list, but blended, chilled soups, including items like packaged gazpacho, could contain romaine lettuce.

8) Refrigerated and Frozen Prepared Entreés and Appetizers

Romaine may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind in the frozen section, but it could be of concern in prepared foods that are available for purchase in your supermarket. Take the time to double check the ingredient list, and when in doubt, ask an employee for help.

Romaine Could Be Hiding

Add a little character to your kitchen

60 Kitchen Island Ideas That Serve Up Style and Functionality
These images of our favorite kitchen island ideas are sure to stir up design inspiration with fun, functional features around seating, storage, and more.

Kitchen islands are critical components in any kitchen. A multipurpose surface, they allow prep work, cooking, eating, working, and entertaining. For that reason, they’re also one of the most requested features in homes, both in purchases and renovations, but kitchen islands can vary tremendously in size and style, and aren’t right for every home.

Kitchen and White Cabinet The idea for Simon Pillard and Philippe Rossetti’s Lego kitchen island in Paris sprouted when Pillard put 500 blocks and a day’s worth of work into building a Lego-legged chair. They covered their kitchen island—a simple wooden block—with 20,000 Lego pieces.
I am not this big a fan of Legos, but someone might be….

If you’re considering a new kitchen or renovation, it’s important to think about how you envision using the island, given other factors that might be at play in the kitchen. For example, a kitchen island typically requires about 36″ between the edge of the island and the edge of the countertop, so an island is unlikely to work well in a very long, narrow kitchen. If you’re planning on having multiple people working in the kitchen at once, then 42″ to 48″ should be your goal. This also goes for spaces around appliances like a sink, stove, or dishwasher, so if you’d like to integrate a sink into the island, you’ll want to plan accordingly.

In terms of the width of an island, that also depends on how you’re planning on using it, and what utilities you may want to incorporate. A typical countertop is 24″ deep, and this goes for a basic kitchen island with no seating as well. However, if you’re incorporating appliances like a cooktop into the island, you should add a minimum of 8″ to this depth; most designers usually assume about 36″ to 42″ in depth for an island, but this can vary based on the size of the kitchen and planned use. In terms of length, the average size of a kitchen island is about 3’ by 6.5’, but this can always vary.

Here are lots of ideas with just photos!  Have fun looking and getting ideas.

 

60 Kitchen Island Ideas That Serve Up Style and Functionality - Photo 2 of 62 -

If your dream kitchen incorporates an island, and you’re worried you just don’t have room, think of other options, like a mobile island on castor wheels that can be moved about the space, or an island that’s only 18″ deep and a bit shorter than most.

Still not sure what exactly you’re looking for in your own kitchen island, or looking for ideas and inspiration? Read on to see 60 stylish kitchens with islands, each addressing the needs and spaces of each home—everything from wheels to sinks, and cooktops to book storage. We’ll take a look at islands that demonstrate these ideas:

  • Add creative seating
  •  Incorporate a sink
  •  Include a built-in stove for cooking
  •  Offer a bar or wine rack/fridge for entertaining
  • Gain space with clever storage

Dining Room, Bar, Stools, Pendant Lighting, and Light Hardwood Floor Jean-Christophe Aumas’ multihued Paris apartment houses both the highly sought artistic director and the stunning assemblage of furniture he’s brought back from his travels. Aumas designed the kitchen island, which is covered in marble tiles from Carrelages du Marais—the geometric floor tiles are from the same place—and strung the matrix of lights up above it. The barstools by Charlotte Perriand were discovered in a vintage store in Antwerp, Belgium. The green wall is covered in paint from Emery & Cie.

Kitchen, Stone Counter, Wood Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Cooktops, and Undermount Sink When architect Jaspar Jansen and his colleagues at i29 Interior Architects were commissioned to renovate a former garage in the central part of town, he sought to bring the outdoors in with natural finishes and colors. The kitchen features custom cabinetry and a large sliding door, both made from oak, that provides recessed storage space. A Foscarini Gregg Pendant hangs above the kitchen table and another over the island, which is made of oak with a thin, black stone countertop.

Kitchen, Glass Tile Backsplashe, Pendant Lighting, Granite Counter, Track Lighting, and Undermount Sink In New York about two hours north of New York City, architecture and interiors firm BarlisWedlick created an eclectic compound designed to suit a client with an idiosyncratic wish list. In the kitchen, a custom Stickbulb LED lamp hangs above a kitchen island topped by concrete from Get Real Surfaces. The cabinets and island feature a modern version of a traditional board and batten siding that are given an even more contemporary feel with the concrete countertop.

Kitchen, Track Lighting, Ceiling Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Concrete Floor, Wood Cabinet, Undermount Sink, and Pendant Lighting At a home about half an hour from Lake Tahoe, architect Jack Hawkins and interior designer Cheryl Chenault built a house that would support their clients’ unique requirements in a home that would be 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. In the kitchen, two islands, one in the shape of an L and the other a smaller rectangular island, are layered table over one portion create generous space to spread out. Norman Cherner barstools from Design Within Reach line the island in the kitchen, which is crowned by an open loft office. The faucets are from Dornbracht; the countertops are Caesarstone. Hawkins integrated a steel-clad casual eating nook, at left.

 

Kitchen and Wood Cabinet In Roanoke Park, a neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, architect Matthew Hufft designed a home for his family that drew on the surrounding traditional homes. In the kitchen, Bertoia barstools are tucked under a custom honed-granite two-level kitchen island by a local company, Carthage Stoneworks. Hufft’s team designed and built the larch cabinets. The appliances are by Thermador.

 

Kitchen, White Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Range Hood, Range, and Drop In Sink The updated kitchen features a bright white palette. The countertop is Caesarstone's Blizzard surface and the stools are Crate and Barrel. The range hood is Futuro, the refrigerator is LG, and the dishwasher is Bosch.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, Open Cabinet, Range, Range Hood, Refrigerator, and Dark Hardwood The firm opened up the closed off kitchen, orienting it in the center of the living space.

Kitchen, Marble Counter, Marble Backsplashe, Range Hood, Range, and Open Cabinet Custom kitchen cabinets designed by Pulltab and fabricated by Maciek Winiarczyk hold mostly vintage ironstone that Geiger has found at flea markets and estate sales over the past 20 years. "I love white," she says, "because I think food always looks better on it." She also collects vintage wooden cutting boards, shown resting against the marble tile backsplash from Stone Source.

White on white

Kitchen, Undermount Sink, Range Hood, Range, Wood Cabinet, Light Hardwood Floor, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Recessed Lighting, and Wood Counter Movable and space-saving design elements define this creative family home in the Mission District. The kitchen was given an economical revamp by adding new drawer and door fronts to the existing cabinet boxes. Countertops were replaced with custom fabricated white oak butcher block surfaces, and a complementary white oak kitchen island was installed. A Wolf range, Vent-a-Hood hood, Franke stainless steel sink, and Bosch dishwasher complete the space.

Kitchen, Stone Counter, White Cabinet, and Dark Hardwood For a 1,500-square-foot condo in the Meatpacking District, Reddymade Design reconfigured the space to merge the kitchen, dining room, and living room into an open-plan arrangement. In the kitchen, the island unit is a modular piece by USM with a Vermont Black slate countertop. The Harry Bertoia stools are from Design Within Reach. The backsplash features Delft tiles, and the stove and range is Bertazzoni.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, and Ceiling Lighting With three sons in the family, the kitchen gets a lot of use. Hee barstools by Hee Welling for Hay slide up to a multi-functioning island where the family gathers to eat, study and play.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Recessed Lighting, Metal Cabinet, and Metal Backsplashe In this kitchen and dining room, architect Bergendy Cooke rethought traditional wood panelling using black pigment-stained veneer. The kitchen has expansive surfaces, including a long, wood-topped kitchen island where the couple cook and entertain, and where the children eat and play. "All of the materials were selected for their integrity and longevity," says Bergendy.

Kitchen, Range Hood, Marble Counter, Pendant Lighting, Range, White Cabinet, Undermount Sink, Medium Hardwood Floor, Marble Backsplashe, and Recessed Lighting The renovation of a 2,000-square-foot property updates a century-old design for a family of four. "We placed the kitchen at the center of the house to link with the dining room and the outdoor space," Moreau says. In the kitchen, a Wolf oven brings out the silver details in Coit’s Bianco Cararra backsplash and island. Hee bar stools by Hay are lined under the island.

Kitchen, Concrete Counter, Wood Cabinet, Range Hood, and Range By eliminating walls and incorporating a series of interior gardens, architect José Roberto Paredes creates an eclectic and inspired El Salvador beach house. In the kitchen, rough-hewn materials like a eucalyptus-log-and-thatch roof offset the monolithic concrete island and glossy subway tile backsplash. Claudia & Harry Washington built the vivid wooden sliding walls, which are inspired by the palm leaves that change color and create diagonal patterns in trees near the house. The bar stools were a street market discovery.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, and White Cabinet A new kitchen at the front of the house completes the trifecta of reworked rooms on the main level. It fits nicely into the notion of balancing new and old elements throughout the house, with oak detailing married to exposed brick, offset by strip lamps. The Hee bar stools are by HAY, the Caravaggio P3 pendants are by Light Years, and the range oven is from Britannia.

Kitchen, Refrigerator, Cooktops, Wood Cabinet, Concrete Counter, White Cabinet, Dark Hardwood, Recessed Lighting, Wall Oven, and Undermount Sink Australian expats Carla and Paul Tucker tasked designer Dan Gayfer with expanding their Melbourne bungalow without adding any square footage. In the kitchen, a soft palette of wood, laminate, and tile created cohesion, impressive considering the clients didn’t see a single finish, color, or material in person prior to their homecoming. The kitchen cabinets were clad in Russian birch plywood, and the countertops were concrete.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Medium Hardwood Floor, White Cabinet, Range Hood, Range, Vessel Sink, Pendant Lighting, and Recessed Lighting A couple takes a minimalist approach to their Brooklyn apartment, focusing on supple materials, subtle gradations of color, and custom finishes by local craftsmen. The Mandayam–Vohra family gathers under one of Workstead’s signature three-arm chandeliers, shown here in its horizontal configuration. Bartenschlager designed the white cabinets and is responsible for the walnut counters both on the kitchen island and near the stove.

Kitchen, White Cabinet, Range Hood, Wall Oven, and Cooktops Painters accomplished the high-gloss finish on the cabinets of a kitchen in San Francisco by applying a coat of paint, polishing it with very high-grit sandpaper, repeating the process for each layer, then topping it with three coats of clear varnish. "It’s like an auto body," says builder Jeff King. "It’s incredibly beautiful." The island provides shelving space and storage as well as a second sink, an is topped with pietra grigio marble.

Kitchen, Metal Counter, Metal Cabinet, Drop In Sink, Range Hood, Wall Oven, Open Cabinet, Table Lighting, and Range The acclaimed Italian designers Ludovica+Roberto Palomba carved a serene retreat out of a 17th-century oil mill in Salento, Italy, filling it with custom creations and their greatest hits. In their minimalist kitchen: sleek steel cabinet systems and the Kono range hood from Elmar. The multi-functional stainless steel island measures 20" deep and was designed by the couple for Elmar.

Kitchen, Concrete Floor, Refrigerator, and Colorful Cabinet Guess used inexpensive graded pine plywood so that he would get heavy grain patterns on the surfaces. One of the main goals in the kitchen was simplicity. To that end, he opted for a poured-in-place concrete island. "We didn’t know if we could afford to do that, but we found a great subcontractor [Nate Francis of Countertop Creations] here who had never really built anything like that," Guess says. "Because he was interested in giving it a shot and adding it to his portfolio, he didn’t charge an exorbitant amount of money because it was sort of an experiment for him as well." The kitchen features a GE Profile refrigerator and KitchenAid range, microwave, and dishwasher. The sink and faucet are from Kohler. The project's builder was Joe Doherty with Custom Homecrafters of Austin.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, White Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Range, Terrazzo Floor, Wall Oven, Refrigerator, and Drop In Sink The dining room is delineated from the kitchen by a long kitchen island with a higher partition between the two spaces. The island provides storage along its length, with exposed shelving at the ends. The drum lighting pendants by Axiom were also made using local timber.

Kitchen and Marble Counter For the kitchen, American cherry wood was used to create cabinets that establish a warm and sturdy tone. Each piece of lumber was purchased at auction by the Brillharts and stored in New Hampshire, before being shipped to Miami and milled on site. The wood island is painted black to provide a point of visual contrast. Himalayan marble countertops and stainless steel appliances lend moments of clean modernism to the kitchen, which is flooded with bright light thanks to patio windows that open to the yard.

Kitchen, Marble Counter, White Cabinet, Concrete Floor, Wood Cabinet, Pendant Lighting, Undermount Sink, Recessed Lighting, and Cooktops The entire living and dining space features tough polished concrete floors. The architects intentionally contrasted the darker concrete and veneered pantry against the neutral white walls and marble. This color play runs through the renovated areas.

Kitchen, Metal Counter, Plywood, and Pendant Lighting Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera, co-founders of interdisciplinary design firm MARK + VIVI, happily took on the challenge of building their dream home in a transitioning Montreal neighborhood. The couple's kitchen is an exercise in both sustainability and creativity. The island is wrapped with reclaimed scrap wood uncovered from the house during demolition. Chalkboard walls provide a whimsical canvas for graphic images and notes. Stainless steel was selected for the kitchen countertops, and the pair relied on a local industrial sheet metal fabricator to help them prepare the material for residential application. The mix of warm and cool adds depth and dimension to the space.

Kitchen In this kitchen in Australia, a freestanding island is lit by a skylight and track lighting, while the texture and color of the siding of the island provide a marked contrast to the dark cabinetry of the rest of the kitchen. An oversized sink makes the island an ideal prep space.

Kitchen Two sinks with angular faucets make this white and wood kitchen island the main prep area in this California kitchen. A long kitchen table protrudes out from the island in a contrasting dark stone with polished nickel legs for a strong visual demarcation between the island and the table, although the two are physically connected.

Kitchen, Light Hardwood Floor, Pendant Lighting, Wood Cabinet, Cooktops, and Metal Counter Twin daughters Merle and Anine join their parents in the family’s kitchen, designed by Jensen for Vipp. He explains that his role as chief designer at Vipp is to "work with their DNA" by refining the company’s trademark materials: stainless steel, painted metal, and rubber. For the utilitarian kitchen, "we wanted to get the feeling of a tool," he says. "It’s nice to have a space where you can actually work." The gas stovetop is by ABK and the refrigerator is by Smeg; Le Perroquet spotlights are from iGuzzini.

Kitchen, Ceiling Lighting, Undermount Sink, Quartzite Counter, White Cabinet, Refrigerator, Laminate, Medium Hardwood Floor, and Range Sitting on a spot that provides a commanding view of the ocean and hills beyond, this California home underwent a major renovation of the kitchen after the homeowners purchased it in foreclosure. A new entry space was created out of an unused hallway and the glazed door and side panels let in even more light, and the all-white kitchen with white countertops and cabinets features an oversized sink.

Kitchen, Concrete Counter, Cooktops, and Wall Oven At a seaside New Zealand house, the simple kitchen has strandboard cabinetry and an MDF island that conceals a fireplace at one end. The bright green cabinetry of the island are a happy pop of color that references the native greenery outside.

Kitchen, Engineered Quartz Counter, Cooktops, and Undermount Sink With clever storage and a retractable skylight, a London apartment designed by metalworker and owner Simone ten Hompel and Roger Hynam of Rogeroger Design Solutions feels larger than its 576 square feet. The team worked in a uniquely collaborative way, with Ullmayer Sylvester planning the space, Hynam creating the built-in storage and the kitchen island, and ten Hompel making models and scrawling on the wall to better envision their proposals. The kitchen island features a compact cooktop by Whirlpool and an integrated drainboard incised into the countertop for easy cleaning.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Concrete Floor, Cooktops, Ceiling Lighting, and Drop In Sink The House of Earth + Light had been featured in the pages of the New York Times and on the cover of Dwell’s premiere issue, and was revisited years later. In the kitchen, an elegant palette of materials defines the open space. The rear counter is sanded stainless steel; the island counter is Purpleheart (an exotic hardwood) with a range by Dacor.

 

Kitchen In an apartment renovation in Tel Aviv by Maya Sheinberger, a white and black kitchen comes together in a white island with black base and black bar stools by infiniti.

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, Cooktops, and Range Hood A green laminate countertop by Abet Laminati is surrounded by Norman Foster’s Emeco 20-06 counter stools at the island in the kitchen, which has an integrated Frigidaire induction range, Faber Cylindra Isola range hood, Blomberg dishwasher, Fisher & Paykel fridge, and flat-grain fir plywood cabinets by Portland craftsman Doug Chamblin. A Louis Poulsen PH 5 pendant illuminates a Modernica Tenon Table and Eames Molded Plastic chairs with Eiffel bases. A George Nelson Ball Clock hangs nearby.

Kitchen In Chicago’s Lower West Side, editorial director Chelsea Jackson and and her chef husband Arthur renovated their fourth-floor condominium to include a custom Bulthaup kitchen. "We wanted to find a kitchen island that would be light enough to make the room seem large while still standing up to heavy-duty cooking," Chelsea notes. Calls to kitchen retailers were fruitless until Arthur reached the Bulthaup showroom, where the staff suggested he come check out a floor model of the discontinued System 20 kitchen. The stainless steel island, with its precise profile and gas cooktop, was exactly what the couple was after, and they bought it on the spot. A full Bulthaup kitchen—completed with components from the B3 range—would soon become the centerpiece of their new home.

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, Recessed Lighting, Refrigerator, Light Hardwood Floor, Ceiling Lighting, Range, Wall Oven, Range Hood, and Drop In Sink In the kitchen, an island countertop serves as a mixed-use area for cooking, storage, and seating for up to five people. The room opens up to an outdoor dining area.

Kitchen, White Cabinet, and Metal Counter A Boston loft in a former textile factory receives a minimal, efficient kitchen at the hands of Bunker Workshop. In the kitchen, the island features a stainless steel countertop with a gas cooktop, oven, and a brick half wall.

Kitchen, Granite Counter, Range Hood, Range, and Wood Cabinet A pair of environmentally attuned architects combined adjoining properties in a Los Angeles canyon to house their modernist menagerie. With exposed industrial materials for finishes, the interior includes hand-troweled, waxed concrete floors, Douglas fir beams, and sealed-plywood ceilings. The open kitchen’s island, topped with soapstone, doubles as a bookcase for the living room.

Kitchen, Dark Hardwood, Wood Cabinet, Marble Counter, and Pendant Lighting A movable island, set on stainless steel casters, sits in the center of the kitchen. The Panasonic microwave is built into the cabinetry and the August pendant lights illuminating the island are by Uberhaus.

Kitchen, Granite Counter, White Cabinet, Range, and Range Hood Avid cooks, Jinhee and John spend part of every day around their custom-built kitchen island, surrounded by Compasso d’Oro barstools. The island is on castors, so it easily moves around the kitchen as needed. An edamame plant on their patio occasionally provides leaves for Korean dishes.

Kitchen, Ceiling Lighting, and Pendant Lighting A barrier-free house enables a family to come together amid the vineyards in Northern California. The kitchen is fully accessible and yet not institutional, with room for both extended family and a caregiver, and the ability to move between indoors and out without having to negotiate a single barrier. The island contains a micro kitchen for the family’s daughter, who is in a wheelchair, with a sink, refrigerator, and warming drawers within easy reach. The pendant is from Global Lighting.

Kitchen, Concrete Floor, and Metal Counter Who says kitchen islands can’t work in small spaces too? A design-minded pair ensures that their tiny seaside getaway in Hampshire, England, is shipshape. At 538 square feet, this home is efficiently designed, with an interior that was influenced by the compact housing that you see in Japan. The kitchen and island have been sized to fit the small space, but the island’s minimal finishings keep it feeling appropriate. 

Kitchen At this home in Sun Valley, the clients wanted a modern house that would feel authentic to the high desert mountain landscape, in a style dubbed "mountain industrial." Everything that touches the earth is stone and board-formed concrete, and everything that projects out is steel and glass, down to the kitchen island, which features two levels, an integrated sink, custom cabinetry, and polished nickel hardware.

Kitchen, Concrete Counter, and Recessed Lighting Smitten from the start with a 1970s concrete villa in rural Belgium, a resident and her designer embark on a sensitive renovation that excises the bad (carpeted walls, dark rooms) and highlights the good (idyllic setting, statement architecture). Owner Nathalie Vandemoortele worked with designer Renaud de Poorter on the interior renovations, which included opening up the heavy structure with the help of new windows and doors to the outside. A concrete bi-level island keeps the Brutalist vibe on the interior, but is open and light enough to feel balanced.

Kitchen, Wood Counter, Slate, and Ceiling Lighting A short wall on the kitchen island hides clutter and keeps the straight lines of the design unmarred. Almost every lighting fixture, including the overhead Artemide Tolomeo light, is movable. The refrigerator and oven are from Fisher and Paykel.

 

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, Medium Hardwood Floor, Wall Oven, Ceiling Lighting, Recessed Lighting, and Pendant Lighting Aaron and Yuka Ruell transformed a 1950s Portland ranch house into a retro-inspired family home with plenty of spaces for their four children to roam. In the kitchen, interior designer Emily Knudsen Leland replaced purple laminate cabinets with flat-sawn eastern walnut, and added PentalQuartz countertops in polished Super White for contrast. The kitchen island is clad with original red tiles, and hanging cabinets above it were removed to maximize light and family-room views.

Kitchen A generously sized kitchen in a prefabricated home in Texas features crisp white cabinetry, contrasting with textured stone walls and a dark stone countertop. The kitchen features two islands that work together to form an L and a smaller rectangular island with castors sitting inside the L for additional prep space and mobility.

Kitchen At this home renovation in England, the architects kept the interiors minimal and stripped back, allowing for extra space to be used by the family as they pleased. A kitchen island with exposed plywood on the interior but painted on the exterior doubles up as a breakfast bar, and holds storage space for three Magis swivel beech barstools to be tucked away when not in use.

 

Kitchen At a home in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico that was designed as a collaboration between Gilberto L. Rodríguez, of GLR Arquitectos, and Alberto Campo Baeza, of Estudio Campo Baeza, the architects sought to pay homage to Mexican architect Luis Barragán. A strong presence of light and color are at play throughout the house, including the kitchen, where a clean white kitchen island covers bright neon yellow storage. The cabinets are translucent, seeming to glow from within, and provide a focal point in the otherwise white and black kitchen.

Kitchen Taking inspiration from barns, warehouses, Case Study Houses, and Japanese residential architecture, architect Marcus Lee and his wife, Rachel Hart—an architectural model maker—created a unique timber-framed home in Hackney, London. In the kitchen, the Corian kitchen island unit acts as a real hub with a television tucked away under the worktop. However, the kids sit at the island for breakfast and other meals, and when guests come, they end up sitting there and talking while the owners are cooking.

Kitchen On a sought after an idyllic island in the center of Amsterdam an old warehouse, formerly in use as a pillow factory and a garage has been converted to a warm and eclectic family home. The kitchen features a mixture of green tiles, green painted mullions, and exposed wood beams for a warm, soft feeling that contrast sharply with the more industrial stainless steel island. The kitchen island incorporates a stove top and storage, and benefits from natural light from the skylight overhead.

Kitchen, Laminate, Ceramic Tile Floor, Marble Backsplashe, and Pendant Lighting In a mountain retreat in the Czech Republic near the border with Germany, Martina Schultes designed a kitchen that brings the outside in, with wood plank paneling used on the walls and the kitchen island. The island and countertops are topped with black laminate, and the backsplash is a green marble.

Kitchen, Concrete Floor, Rug, and Pendant Lighting By using color, wood, and polished concrete floors, this apartment in Berlin is full of personality. In the kitchen, polished statuario marble covers both the island's countertop and the backsplash in the custom kitchen cabinet block. PSLAB designed the light fixtures, and the island has open shelving incorporated into it for easy access to cookbooks and other reading material.

Kitchen, Pendant Lighting, Marble Counter, Wood Cabinet, White Cabinet, Wall Oven, Range Hood, Refrigerator, Concrete Floor, Open Cabinet, Undermount Sink, Recessed Lighting, Range, and Subway Tile Backsplashe Architect Kevin Alter integrated wood from the original bungalow into the kitchen and covered the island in Carrara marble, with an interior clad in wood. A long table extends from the side of the island, and wine storage is integrated into one end of the island. New appliances include a Wolf range, a Broan hood, and a Miele oven and refrigerator. The Fucsia pendant lights are by Achille Castiglioni for Flos.

Kitchen, Wood Cabinet, and Pendant Lighting For a Toronto couple with a love of minimalist Japanese architecture, a sleek, storage-packed kitchen was the first priority in their home's renovation. In the kitchen, white oak used for the cabinets, kitchen island, and dining table is finished with double-boiled linseed oil, which can be reapplied by the homeowners as the wood mellows and patinas. The custom beveled edge for the island's "Blizzard" white Caesarstone countertop forgoes the standard one-inch countertop overhang to save on space and maintain a sleek feel. A Vola faucet is used with a sink by Mekal.

Kitchen, Refrigerator, Medium Hardwood Floor, Wall Oven, Ceiling Lighting, Quartzite Counter, and Pendant Lighting This apartment, overlooking the beautiful beach and the urban views of Tel Aviv, was built in the late 1990s and hadn't been renovated since, until designer Maya Sheinberger came in. The kitchen cabinets were chosen in a grey color with a matte finish and for the countertops, the designer chose a bright Dekton with marble texture. Above the kitchen island, which is used for cooking and for light family meals, are three wooden lighting fixtures by Israeli designer Ohad Benit. 

Tucked away in the woods of Denmark, furniture design company Kobenhavens Mobelsnedkeri designed this vacation retreat that boats a striking pitch-black kitchen island. The home features a restrained color palette complemented with natural touches; the floor is a delicate pale oak, which contrasts with the bold statement of the dark cabinets and island. 

Viola Park ranks high on the list of great, modern kitchen systems and offers a range of kitchen islands. Among the features in their islands is the Pivot Storage System, shown here. Mounted below the counter to preserve counter space, the wood bins can be outfitted as knife block, utensil holder, or garbage bin. The system conveniently keeps your utensils where you need them, without taking up much-valued counter space.

In Auckland, New Zealand, architect Michael O’Sullivan and his partner Melissa Schollum braved a miniscule budget, withering looks from friends, and nasty nail-gun injuries to design and build their perfectly proportioned family home. The reflectivity of the brass kitchen island makes it seem to dematerialize.

Kitchen A young Vancouver family asked Falken Reynolds Interiors to convert their waterfront vacation home on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast into their primary residence. To facilitate livability for the foursome, an enlarged kitchen, complete with a large white island with wood hardware, was a major part of the renovation. 

Add a little character to your kitchen

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

soup.jpg I love making and eating soup when the weather turns cold.  Every year I just keep trying new ones.  When I am at the grocery store, I just look at all the different ingredients, grab a few and always find a recipe online that works.  It is kind of a fun challenge.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter ( I only had peanut butter with nuts, but just put it in the blender with the soup and it was great)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 1 large Roma (plum) tomato, seeded and diced  (I only had cherry, so chopped fine and deseeded by wiping with a paper towel)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and lime zest. Set aside in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add sweet potatoes, and chicken stock. Season with cumin, chili flakes, and ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  3. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or regular blender. If using a countertop blender, puree in small batches, filling the blender just a bit past halfway to avoid spillage. Whisk peanut butter into the soup, (I added in the blender) and heat through. Stir in lime juice, and salt.
  4. Ladle into warm bowls, and top with a dollop of the reserved sour cream, a few pieces of diced tomato, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Serve with a salad or nice piece of French Bread and it is a lunch or dinner for kings. Oh, and don’t forget to add a nice glass of wine.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Steak ~ 7 Best Cuts

This post is for my steak-loving husband.

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Peer into your butcher’s case or roam the frigid aisles of Costco’s meat section, and you’ll encounter a whole world of confusing steak cuts. That doesn’t mean you should let all these admittedly confounding varieties get the best of you. We’re breaking down the differences between seven of our favorite steaks, including how to cook each of them to juicy perfection. With a little practice, we guarantee you’ll be showing up your favorite steakhouse.

① Filet Mignon

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A staple of white-tablecloth steakhouses across the country, this tender muscle does barely, if any, of the heavy lifting on the cow, resulting in a soft, buttery texture that gives way in the mere presence of a steak knife. However, this cut is also nearly devoid of any fat, meaning the mild flavor has less of the lip-smacking juiciness meat eaters crave.

Can be Known As: filet de boeuf, tender steak, beef tenderloin, tenderloin steak.

When to Order: The classic Valentine’s Day offering, filets are perfect for diners who are a) more concerned with tenderness rather than flavor and b) have money to spare. Filets are also well suited for anyone on a diet who just really needs a steak.

How to Cook it: It’s versatile enough to be cooked via whichever method you prefer, from pan-roasting to grilling. There’s no fat to compensate for overcooking, so sous vide is a safe bet if you need extra security.

② Rib Eye 

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One of the most prized cuts of all, the rib eye comes boneless or with the rib bone still attached, in which case it’s frequently known as a cowboy steak. And while the bone might make it harder to navigate your knife and fork, gnawing on gristle and crispy fat is undoubtedly the best part of the steak-eating experience. Speaking of which, it’s that abundance of fat, both marbled within the meat and surrounding the edges via the white fat cap that makes rib eyes so intense and beefy in flavor. They’re not as meltingly soft as filets, but ribeyes have just enough of a chew to remind you why your experience as a vegan didn’t last.

Also Known As: cowboy steak, tomahawk steak, Spencer steak, Delmonico steak.

When to Order: If you’re a carnivore who wants the best beef-eating experience possible, and has a supply of Lipitor on hand.

How to Cook It: Rib eyes are equally at home over charcoal flames, in a cast-iron pan or under a screaming broiler. The high-fat content means, yes, you can get away with cooking them somewhat past medium without the meat turning into a chewy football.

③ New York Strip

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It might not be as tender as it’s posh cousin (the filet) or as sumptuous as the always-fatty ribeye, but the New York strip is a solid jack-of-all-trades. A bit more chew and a little less marbling mean it’s less expensive so you won’t be picking your jaw up from the floor when it comes time to pay, making this the perfect midweek dinner for when you need a pick-me-up.

Also Known As: shell steak, Kansas City steak, sirloin steak.

When to Order: This is the all-around, crowd-pleasing steak star made specifically for Goldilocks in terms of flavor, tenderness, and price.

How to Cook It: Just like a ribeye, strip steaks are happy any way you cook them. Just be warned that some can run a little lean, making them less resilient to overcooking.

④  Porterhouse

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A porterhouse is simply a New York strip and delicate filet mignon separated by a T-shaped bone, hence another nickname, the mighty T-bone. This is the one time we suggest putting away the cast iron as meat shrinks as it cooks, meaning when seared, a porterhouse’s surface fails to make contact with the pan as the bone begins to jut out. And since the filet side is more prone to overcooking, it can be a challenge getting the entirety of the steak to finish at the same time.

Also Known As: T-bone steak.

When to Order: If you’re an experienced steak expert or part of a couple who doesn’t like to compromise (no judgment), or if you’re exceptionally hungry and prefer to spend your paycheck on steak versus rent.

How to Cook It: Grilling or broiling is your best bet. Just make sure the tenderloin side of the porterhouse is exposed to less heat, so it doesn’t overcook before the strip is finished.

⑤ Hanger

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Formerly the butcher’s hidden gem, the once-humble hanger has exploded in popularity over the years. It might not be as affordable as it used to be, but the cut, taken from the front of the cow’s belly, is still a bargain considering it’s astonishingly savory flavor and relative tenderness. When taken right off the cow, hangers tend to be covered in a blanket of tough sinew and silver skin, though most butchers will sell it already trimmed.

Also Known As: onglet, butcher’s steak, hanging tender.

When to Order: If you’re looking for maximum payoff with little effort; or a carnivore who prefers to spend only half their paycheck on steak.

How to Cook It: A loose, soft texture makes hanger steak perfect for soaking up sticky marinades and dry rubs. Keep in mind there’s a sweet spot when it comes to cooking this cut: Too rare, and it remains unpleasantly toothsome; too overdone, and it will dry out just like any other steak.

⑥ Flank

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Long, hardworking muscle fibers make flank steak relatively tough to chew on when improperly prepared. After cooking to medium rare, be sure to slice the meat thinly against the grain. (On the plus side, it’s easy to get a large number of servings from this square cut, making it perfect fodder for a summer buffet.)

Also Known As: London broil.

When to Order: Because of the flank steak’s low quality in terms of texture, you’d be wise to skip ordering this one in a restaurant.

How to Cook It: As long as it doesn’t go past medium rare, flank steak is happy whichever way you cook it. It’s one of the few “steak” cuts that do well when braised.

⑦ Skirt Steak

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The go-to choice when it comes to carne asada and fajitas, this flavorful, well-marbled cut is just as savory and succulent as a ribeye, while remaining one of the cheapest cuts behind the counter (at least, for now). You can bolster the naturally beefy flavor with a quick marinade, but the most important thing is to cook skirt steak as fast as possible and cut it thinly against the grain.

Also Known As: fajita meat, Philadelphia steak.

When to Order: Like flank steak, skirt steak is best cooked at home (and not ordered when out) if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck or just happen to be throwing a fajita party.

How to Cook It: These steaks are naturally thin, so blistering heat is required to make sure the outside is charred before the interior becomes overcooked.

 

Steak ~ 7 Best Cuts

10 Mistakes You’re Making with Raw Chicken

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Many home cooks may not realize the simple, but potentially dangerous mistakes they’re making with raw chicken. If not handled correctly, you may set yourself and your family up for some seriously sad tummy troubles.

These are 10 potential mistakes even experienced home cooks make with raw chicken.

Storing chicken improperly

The tiny drawing of a turkey on your refrigerator shelf may seem like a helpful hint for picking where you should store your cellophane-wrapped packages of poultry. That’s not always the best indicator.

Chicken juices tend to leak and drip from packages, which means if it’s stored on a shelf above ready-to-eat foods like fruits and vegetables, you could contaminate a great deal of the food in your fridge.

Solution: Place chicken packages on a plate or in a casserole dish, and store them on the bottom shelf or in the bottom drawer of your fridge. The plate will capture any juices that leak, protecting everything else you have stored.

Thawing incorrectly

We don’t mean to go all food safety police here, but this is one of the most dangerous and most common mistakes you can make with your raw chicken. At room temperature, the bacteria in these birds can quickly multiply.  Salmonella is especially prolific at these warmer temps. If you leave the chicken out too long such as you might when you’re thawing it for tonight’s dinner you could set up camp for bacteria that will result in foodborne illness (i.e. food poisoning).

Solution: Don’t put the frozen chicken on the counter or in the sink to thaw. While the center of the chicken is ice cold, the outer portions will be too warm to stop bacterial growth. Instead, thaw the chicken in your fridge up to two days ahead of when you plan to cook with it. That will give the chicken’s thickest parts plenty of time to de-ice while keeping the outside portions chilled and more importantly, safe.

Not letting chicken warm up a bit

After the last raw chicken mistake, this may seem counterintuitive, but hear us out: You don’t want to leave the chicken out too long (remember, food poisoning), but you also don’t want to cook it straight from the fridge.

Leaving the chicken out at room temperature for 15 minutes will make the chicken cook more evenly, helping you avoid a brown outside with a raw, undercooked inside.

Solution: When you’re gathering all of the ingredients for dinner, go ahead and take the chicken (in the plate or dish where it’s stored) out of the fridge. Let it sit for no more than 15 minutes.

Rinsing chicken before you cook it

If you give your birds a bath before you bake them, it’s time to stop. Raw chicken doesn’t need to be and should not be rinsed before cooking. You may think you’re rinsing away bacteria—salmonella is a big concern with chicken—but you may actually just be spreading it. In fact, research suggests you may splash bacteria as far as three feet from your sink when you rinse poultry.

Solution: Skip the bath. Cook chicken directly from the package, and you’ll cut down on possible contamination around your kitchen.

Not drying your chicken

Didn’t we just tell you not to wash chicken? We did. But you should definitely dry your chicken before you cook it.

That’s because fluids from processing and packaging chicken are often washed in a saline solution to keep it looking moist when on the shelf can make your chicken soggy when you put it right into the pan. A dry bird gets more beautiful browning and a wonderfully crisp sear.

Solution: Before you put the chicken in the pan or on the grill, give it a quick dab with paper towels. Better yet, let the chicken air-dry in the refrigerator for a few hours. To do this, you’ll place the chicken on a tray or platter and leave it, uncovered, in your fridge. The air will wick away moisture from the skin of the chicken, leaving it nice and dry for crisp searing. (Dry brining is a popular technique for getting really crispy turkey skin at Thanksgiving.)

Marinating your chicken the wrong way

Marinating is a great technique for adding flavor with minimal effort. You need only combine your chicken pieces with your homemade marinade and let it rest for several hours before it’s time to cook it.

However, you’re making a big mistake if you leave your chicken on the counter to marinate while you prepare all the other components for your meal. You could set yourself up for a foodborne illness.

Solution: Once you have your marinade, pour it into a zip-top bag or container that closes. (A lidded container is fine as long as the lid won’t fly off.) Then, add your chicken. Toss gently to coat the chicken in the marinade, and immediately put it back into the fridge. Toss or flip the chicken a few more times to get all pieces of chicken evenly coated.

When you’re finished with the marinade, throw the bag right into the trash or empty it from the container down the sink. Marinade that has come into contact with raw chicken is not reusable, even if you boil it. It’s just too risky. Instead, save some of your marinade before you combine it with the chicken, and use it for a last-second brushing before serving.

The raw chicken comes into contact with other foods

If space is at a premium in your petite kitchen, you may be tempted to reuse surfaces (i.e. cutting boards) to keep from dirtying up extra dishes. Don’t do it.

Chop raw chicken on a separate prep board from other ingredients you might be slicing or mincing for your meal. If you chop kale on the same board you sliced chicken, you could cross-contaminate the leafy greens with juices from the bird. That’s possible even if you wipe the board down with a sanitizing towel. Bacteria are just too difficult to eliminate without a high-temperature wash, like that of a dishwasher.

Reusing kitchen tools without washing

If you use the same tongs to flip raw chicken as you do to toss the side salad you’ve prepared, you may be cross contaminating your raw ingredients with the bacteria from your raw chicken. This increases your risk for foodborne illnesses and food poisoning.

Solution: You need to set aside all utensils that come into contact with raw meat, and don’t use them for other foods. Then, you should wash them thoroughly after each use so as to prevent the spread of poultry juices.

Not washing your hands after handling raw chicken

Your hands are the most useful tool you have in your kitchen. They’re also the most likely to spread bacteria.

Indeed, you may easily cross-contaminate your entire kitchen if you use your dirty hands to handle chicken, turn on a sink, grab a fork from the drawer, and open the refrigerator. Each surface you come into contact with may now harbor potentially deadly bacteria.

Solution: Take extra care to notice what and where you touch after handling raw chicken. Better yet, “save” one hand for non-chicken related tasks. As soon as you’ve flipped the chicken or put it in the bag for marinating, use your non-chicken hand to turn on the faucet at the sink and pump some soap. Wash your hands thoroughly, and dry with a clean towel. Don’t use a towel you’ve used to wipe down surfaces around your kitchen, or you could pick up any bacteria the towel is hiding.

Ripping skin off the meat with your hands

If you’ve tried tugging chicken skin off breasts, thighs, or drumsticks before cooking them, you know how slippery those pieces can be. One stuck-on piece of sinew and your main course may be sent flying into the floor.

It’s also smart to leave the skin on cuts like thighs and drumsticks because the fat can infuse the meat with flavor during the cooking process. You can just remove the skin before serving.

Solution: Give your grippers a rest and use a paring knife instead. The short knives are easy to grip and quickly cut away at the tough tissue. They can also be easier to handle, which reduces the risk of losing any precious meat during the trimming process.

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10 Mistakes You’re Making with Raw Chicken

Inviting Kitchens to Wake You Up 

I found it interesting in reading through these that even though “Granite” is supposedly on it’s way out, a number of these kitchens are inspired with granite.   I still love it in a kitchen, as it adds such life!
Inviting Kitchens to Wake You Up