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WATCH: You’ve Been Cooking and Cleaning Your Corn Wrong

WATCH: You’ve Been Cooking and Cleaning Your Corn Wrong



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The team at Bobby Flay’s blog have discovered an easier and more efficient way to cook corn on the cob

When trying this trick, we were only slightly concerned that we’d end up with a microwave full of popcorn.

Put away the pot of boiling water or the grill, and rest your fingers from hours of shucking. It seems that we’ve been cooking and cleaning corn wrong our whole lives. Just check out this video from the B-Team at Bobby Flay’s blog that shows you that all you need to cook corn on the cob just right is a microwave.

According to the video, all you have to do is microwave an ear of in-husk of corn for four minutes. Then, when it’s piping hot, take it out and cut off the last few inches on one end and shake upside-down. Your corn should come out cleanly from the husk in one piece, completely cooked. Bobby Flay’s team isn’t actually the first to come up with this neat trick, and some how-to videos suggest nuking the corn for only three minutes, but it probably depends on the power of your microwave.

Want to spice up your corn on the cob? Check out The Daily Meal’s recipes for Curried Corn on the Cob and Spicy Cilantro Corn on the Cob.

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi


Raw and undercooked meats are a risk to your health, but overcooked meats can be toxic, too. Cooking foods at extremely high temperatures𠅊round 300ଏ�n char them. Char, research suggests, produces chemicals and byproducts that may be linked to cancer.

Heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are two chemicals formed when meat is cooked with high-temp methods, like grilling or pan-frying. These chemicals may cause changes in your DNA that can increase your risk for cancer.

HCAs form when amino acids and creatine (substances that are found in meat and muscle) react to the high temps. HCAs are not found in significant amounts in other foods besides meat that’s cooked at high temperatures. PAHs are formed when fat and juices from meat drip directly onto the fire or cooking surface and turn into smoke. That smoke contains the PAHs, and it can adhere or seep into the surfaces of the foods you’re cooking. In addition to pan-frying and grilling, smoking foods can create PAHs.

If you can’t give up your grilled meats, practice indirect heat cooking. This way, your beef, fish, pork, and poultry are cooked through with plenty of smoky flavor, but you can avoid the direct flame-to-meat flicker that is possibly risky. If you get hot spots in the grill and char a few edges, just cut them away before eating. Turn your meats frequently, too. This will help prevent char and uneven cooking.


Soup Beans and Skillet Cornbread

Soup beans are slow-cooked pinto beans, preferably with a little bit of bacon or other pork thrown in and served with Chow Chow. Do not drain the potlikker that's the best part of this meal and you want it to dip your cornbread into. Speaking of cornbread, you may have your own recipe, but to make it the Appalachian way, it needs to be done in a cast iron skillet and made with all cornmeal, buttermilk and absolutely no sugar.


7 Tips for Making Better French Toast

You’ll like the morning favorite even more once you’ve used these pointers.

French toast is such a simple and well-loved food that many of us cook it on autopilot, going through motions that we’ve long known. But whether you have an established method or are looking for one, know that a few simple tweaks can elevate French toast. Looking for an easy upgrade? Try these tips when cooking one of our favorite French toast recipes.

Most of French toast is bread, as its main ingredient and shape indicate. This may seem obvious, but it’s worth noting because of the door it opens to a massive upgrade. If most of French toast is bread, then changing that bread can deeply change your final product. You’re going to have a really hard time making top-notch French toast with white bread out of the plastic sleeve. For a better final breakfast, start from a fresh-baked loaf.

An additional route you can take is to begin from different kinds of fresh-baked bread. Challah, brioche, or even banana bread will give you a more flavorful French toast, slices with qualities that vary based on which bread you choose. Think of the possibilities!

Thinly sliced French toast loses something of its luxurious bite. So go thick, no thinner than half-an-inch. More bread per slice means a bite with more personality. It also means a greater ability to sponge up the egg-and-milk mixture, packing more goodness into each slice.

When you dunk your bread into its egg-and-milk mixture, slices that will soon become French toast change. They are imbued with what they absorb. So why not enhance what they can absorb, giving them more flavor? Spiking your egg-milk mixture with vanilla extract might be the best way to create flavor at this stage. But don’t sleep on cinnamon. A few shakes can go a long way. And though not as splashy, calling on farm-fresh eggs and whole milk will make a subtler difference.


Vegan Cooking Basics: Essential Information

Now I’m just going to throw some fundamental cooking knowledge your way. My hope is that this information will help you feel more comfortable and confident in the kitchen, and that it might even prevent a wrecked a meal or two.

Ovens

The usual baking temperature for most items is between 350° and 425° Fahrenheit (that’s about 175° Celsius and 220° Celsius.) If you’re reheating last night’s pizza or casserole, the best temperature is just 200° or 225° F. You use low temperatures for leftovers because your food has already been properly cooked, and now only needs to be warmed up. Often the best way to reheat vegetable-based meals is to use a casserole dish with a glass top, and maybe toss in a few teaspoons of water. Microwave ovens are reheat leftovers much more quickly than a conventional oven, and they won’t cause your food to dry out. But you will need to cover dishes that contain soups or sauces to avoid spattering. A vented microwave lid is therefore a useful purchase if you own a microwave.

Many ovens feature a broiler compartment beneath the oven. You’ll turn the dial to Broil to activate this feature. Broiling temperatures are usually between 500° and 550° F, which means you’ve got to watch your food like a hawk. In the space of two minutes your food can go from under-cooked to burnt.

Stove Tops

Serious chefs have long favored gas stoves since they enable you to adjust the heat instantaneously. Unfortunately, recent evidence definitively links gas stoves with higher rates of respiratory disorders. Even children who live in homes equipped with gas stoves face heightened disease risk. An excellent article reviewing the many hazards of gas stoves draws this conclusion:

After scanning this research I can only conclude that gas ranges simply do not belong in our homes, particularly in open kitchens, and should never be used without a properly designed and balanced exhaust system, which is almost impossible to find.

Stoves that heat with electric conductive elements take far longer to heat up or cool down. If your pot starts boiling over you can’t just spin the dial to instantly lower the heat. If you have any say in the matter, avoid conventional electric coil or smooth top conductive ranges. They’re just terrible for cooking. Plus they’re a hazard for cats who don’t respect wishes about staying off kitchen counters.

Induction Stoves

Recently, a more advanced electric stove technology has emerged based on induction (as opposed to hot electric coils that impart heat through conduction). Induction stoves are vastly superior to conventional electric stoves, and I even prefer them to gas stoves. When it comes to quickly being able to change temperatures, induction stoves are nearly as responsive as gas. Plus they’re far safer, and they’re much easier to keep clean.

On top of all that, once you remove the cookware from an induction stove, the stove-top powers off and cools down immediately. Yet induction stoves can nevertheless heat up a pan or skillet as quickly as gas. The technology of induction stoves limits you to using ferrous-metal cookware—all-copper and all-aluminum pans will not work (most stainless steel, ceramic, or nonstick cookware should work). I’ve spent months cooking my meals in a ceramic nonstick skillet on an induction stove, and I consider this the ideal combination for home use.

If your stove’s heat goes from 1 to 10, usually you’ll be cooking between 2 and 6 (dial settings vary from one stove to the next, and some stoves get sufficiently hot for most uses at 3 to 4). Higher temperatures are for boiling water or browning. The lowest setting is used primarily to keep the food warm prior to serving.

Knife Skills

Gaining competence with a chef’s knife is fundamental to almost everything you do in the kitchen. It’s a skill that takes time and practice. Becoming truly skilled with a chef’s knife requires about as much practice as getting halfway decent at hitting a golf or tennis ball. If you’ve been cooking for a while and then watch a professional chef go to work doing something as basic as chopping an onion, you’ll probably be amazed by the level of skill on display.

Luckily, you’ve got an asset that yesterday’s aspiring chefs didn’t: YouTube videos. YouTube features tons of kitchen tutorials and a great place to start is this one that showcases basic knife skills.

Baking

Baking, especially where breads, pies, and cakes are concerned, is an entirely different animal from general stovetop cooking and most other food preparation. Oftentimes, people who are only mediocre cooks have a real knack for baking, whereas some great cooks couldn’t bake to save their lives.

The main thing to know about baking is that it’s a much fussier task than most other forms of cooking. With stove-top cooking, improvisation is the name of the game. You can toss in an extra chopped onion or experiment with new spices with no worries. Your stew or stir-fry will turn out just great. But futzing with the proportions laid out in a cake recipe is courting disaster. In fact, baking recipes are so sensitive that recipes that turn out perfect at sea-level often need to be rejiggered for use at high altitude.

Start with Cookies

If you want to try your hand at vegan baking, perhaps start by making vegan cookies, since cookies are the simplest of all baked items. Once you can reliably churn out a batch of delicious vegan cookies, you’re ready to branch out to other baked items. It will then be time for you to purchase a good vegan baking cookbook. There are many excellent vegan baking titles to choose from, all of which are featured on our vegan baking guide.

Don’t despair if you weren’t born with a gift for baking. If all your cakes and breads seem cursed, consider buying a bread machine. That way, you can at least have perfectly baked bread anytime you want it.


17 Ways You're Using Your Kitchen All Wrong

The average American spends more than four hours each week preparing, cooking, and cleaning up after meals. However, despite the long hours we log in the kitchen, many of us are still making countless mistakes that cost us time and money every time we tie our aprons on.

Unfortunately, these seemingly-minor mistakes can lead to serious consequences, from the minor to the potentially deadly. But the good news is you needn't be a professional chef to improve your kitchen skills in a hurry. We've rounded up 17 ways you're using your kitchen wrong, making it easy to improve your culinary game, keep your appliances working, and maintain your safety in the process. And when you want to know what really goes on behind the scenes in a professional kitchen, discover these 20 Secrets Chefs Won't Tell You.

If you're not preheating your oven before putting your food in, you're doing yourself a disservice. According to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, not preheating ovens added unaccounted for extra cooking time to recipes, which can prove tricky for novice chefs, and may lead to either overcooked or undercooked food. For the best results, preheat your oven and adhere to the recommended baking times at first, adjusting slightly as you get more confident in the kitchen. And when you want to cook like a pro, memorize these 40 Dishes Everyone Over 40 Should Master.

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If you find yourself dealing with clogged sinks on a regular basis, a build-up of grease could be the problem. Grease that goes down your drain, whether it's a tiny plate's worth or a whole pan's worth, can solidify when it cools. This can cause a hard-to-dislodge buildup inside your pipes, and may lead to expensive repairs in the long run. Instead, wipe small amounts of grease off your plate and into a trash can or collect larger amounts in a jar to use for future recipes.

Slapping a slab of steak in a pan next to your almost-prepared veggies could put your health at risk. When you have cooked and uncooked food in close proximity to one another, you run the risk of cross-contamination that can make you sick. This is particularly true with meat, which can expose you to everything from salmonella to campylobacter jejuni. And when you want to avoid illness altogether, make sure you know these 20 Items in Your Home Making You Sick.

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Storing your sharp knives in a typical kitchen drawer is as perilous for you as it is for your utensils. Not only does putting your sharp knives in a drawer mean that you're likely to accidentally cut yourself when you go to grab one, it also makes them less useful. When knifes are left to bang around in a drawer, they quickly become dull instead, hang them from a magnetic rack and keep them sharp and usable for longer.

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While cleaning your blender by hand may seem like the best way to get it spotless, it's a more perilous activity than you might imagine. First, there's the potential to completely eviscerate your kitchen gloves and fingers in the process. Second, there's a better way. Simply put a few drops of dish soap and some water in your blender and pulse it for a minute or so to get off any gunk that can't be simply rinsed away. Afterward, pop it in your dishwasher and your blender will emerge looking brand new.

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Hot may be your temperature of choice for cleaning dishes, but when it comes to moving food through your garbage disposal, you're better off keeping things cool. Hot water has a tendency to melt or loosen solid food, creating a paste that can eventually clog your disposal. If you need a little help moving food through your disposal, opt for cold water instead.

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If you're putting dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher, you're only adding work to your metaphorical plate. Scraping your plates first will help keep pieces of food from landing on your dishes during the wash cycle and keep them from clogging your filters and hoses, as well. However, that doesn't mean you need to rinse your plates before they get washed—in fact, all pre-rinsing really does is waste water. And when you want to make your cleaning rituals more effective, This Is the Best Way to Load a Washing Machine.

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Your food processor and blender may have similar functions, but they're not interchangeable. Blenders are ideal for making viscous liquids, like smoothies and soups, while food processors are better-equipped to crush nuts, chop veggies, or make thicker sauces.

Think you can slap a steak directly onto a not-so-thoroughly scraped grill with no consequences? Think again. Not only will you wind up with charred bits of previous meals on today's dinner, you're also putting yourself at risk by doing so. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, grills are responsible for 8,900 fires, 10 deaths, and $118 million in property damage each year, and the majority of grill fires were caused by improper cleaning techniques.

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It may be tempting to check on your food throughout the cooking process, but doing so by opening the oven is only making things take longer. In fact, opening your oven to check on your food—particularly if you leave the door open as you check it—can result in a heat loss of up to 100 degrees. This means that not only will your food take longer to cook, it may even cook less evenly than if you'd left the door closed. If you can't wait, turn on the light in your oven and check your food's progress through the door.

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If you can stack your plates, you can stack your pans, right? Not exactly. When you stack cast iron pots and pans on top of one another, you're risking causing serious scratches and nicks in their seasoned surfaces, meaning they're less likely to last a long time. If you need to stack your cast iron, place a dish towel between pans to keep scratches at bay.

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The racks on your dishwasher aren't interchangeable. If you're cleaning plastic cups or reusable containers, put them on the upper shelf to prevent your dishwasher's heating coil from warping them. Leave items like stemware and sharp knives out to hand-wash so that they don't break or dull during the wash cycle. According to one study iout ofn the United Kingdom, placing dishes with protein residues on the sides of the dishwasher's bottom rack will get them cleanest, while placing dishes with carbohydrate residue closer to the jets in the center will leave them sparkling.

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Making a perfect smoothie isn't as simple as loading everything into your blender at once. If you want your blender to perfectly combine your ingredients, start with liquids first, then small solids, then larger pieces of fruits or vegetables, then ice.

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If you think that placing a dish towel over your freshly-cooked food is the best way to maintain its temperature while you wait for other dishes to heat, you're sorely mistaken. Instead, place your cooked food in the drawer at the bottom of your oven, where they'll stay nice and warm—just make sure you move out those odds and ends you've been storing in there first.

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Using your oven to cook small batches of food is as inefficient as it is wasteful. Your toaster oven heats up faster and requires less preheating time, meaning that your total cooking time will be slashed.

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Much like opening the door to your oven, taking the lid off your slow cooker to see how they're coming along can have a deleterious effect. Removing the slow cooker's lid lets out a significant amount of heat, meaning your meal will take more time to prepare in the long run.

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All parts of your fridge aren't created equal when it comes to storing food. Your fridge door tends to get exposed to warm temperatures for longer periods of time than the center of your fridge, meaning it's not an ideal place to store delicate items like meat, eggs, or dairy. And for more tips on how to master the kitchen, learn the 20 Kitchen Tools You're Using All Wrong.

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Baked Fish and Potatoes

Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain, cool and cut into thin slices. Set aside.

Lightly brush a 12 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 2-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of the potatoes and sprinkle them with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the thyme leaves. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the thyme. Arrange the fish fillets in a single layer on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the thyme over the fillets.

Cover the fish with the remaining potato slices add salt and pepper, the remaining thyme and olive oil. Bake uncovered until the fish turns milky white and the potatoes are cooked through.

Bake at 350 until the fish easily flakes and the potatoes are beginning to brown, about 25-30 minutes.

You can also cook it at 425 for a shorter period of time, 12-15 minutes. All will depend on the thickness of the fish and how thinly the potatoes are sliced.

Use a wide-faced spatula to lift the fish from the baking dish to individual dinner plates. Serve 2 fillets per person.


Hack: Try cutting off the top and bottom portions of the husk and then cook the corn in the microwave!

Our first instinct when coming home with fresh corn is to start ripping the corn husk open and peeling from the top, leaving remnants of silk everywhere. Instead, try cutting the ends of the corn off first, and then cook the corn. Once cooked, the husk will slide off so much easier and cleaner.

I personally love cooking corn in the microwave on busy nights for a quick side dish. It doesn&rsquot take a ton of time, there&rsquos no boiling water involved, plus it tastes so yummy. Cooking times may vary a little, but for 2 ears of corn, I&rsquoll wrap them up in a wet paper towel for steam and cook for about 4 minutes.

Afterward, the husk will just slide off super easily, usually in a solid piece.


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