Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff

  • In Defense of Iceberg Lettuce

    Photo: StockFood

    I went over to a friend’s one Saturday night for an impromptu taco party. She’d walked to the new all-organic, all-artisanal, we-bag-your-groceries-in-hand-knit-sacks superstore to purchase ingredients for aforementioned fiesta. But you know what she couldn’t find amongst the purple potatoes and fiddlehead ferns?

    Iceberg lettuce. Cool, crisp, crunchy iceberg.

    This is not OK.

    In the last ten years, iceberg has been rightfully displaced from the salad bowl by microgreens and local lettuces—who wouldn’t rather load up their fork with nutrient-filled baby spinach, mixed greens, escarole and arugula after decades of iceberg domination?—but now the poor chump is being ignored and unfairly maligned.

    We’ve seen the enthusiastic embrace of the wedge salad at steakhouses and neighborhood bistros, and for good reason. If there’s one thing at which iceberg excels, it’s being a vehicle for fat, cream, and bacon-y unctuousness. But it has other tricks up its crunchy core. Let’s

    Read More »from In Defense of Iceberg Lettuce
  • Halloween Candy Battle Royale: Vote for the Best and Worst of the Bunch

    Halloween candies go head to head in our battle of the best and worst.

    Read More »from Halloween Candy Battle Royale: Vote for the Best and Worst of the Bunch
  • Hawaiian Foods to Fall In Love With (and a Few to Fake at Home)

    The Hawaii Wine and Food Festival is a glamorous first-time introduction to our fiftieth state, but even without events crowded with star chef toques (where mixology queen Julie Reiner herself served the kind of killer tropical cocktails that could make any place go down easy), Hawaii wants to woo you. The aloha spirit, the generous mood of love and kindness that permeates the culture and governs the simplest daily interactions, is what makes the islands more even spectacular than your run-of-the-mill tropical paradise. But it's the food––fresh fruit and seafood with no shortage of bold seasonings––that will haunt your memories back on the mainland. Perhaps best of all, many island favorites can be recreated, meaning you can fake a tropical vacation in your own kitchen, no pat-down at airport security necessary.

    Mai Tai at the Halekulani
    After significant Mai Tai taste-testing around Oahu, the version served at the Halekulani wins hand's down. It's perfectly balanced and not-too-sweet,

    Read More »from Hawaiian Foods to Fall In Love With (and a Few to Fake at Home)
  • Using a Slow-Cooker: Do I Really Have to Do That?

    There are certain labor-intensive recipe phrases that can make the most diligent cook roll her eyes. "Do I really have to do that?" we wonder. Leave your Do I Really Have To Do That? questions in the comments and they shall be answered, saving us all a lot of needless trouble.

    Do you need a slow-cooker? Only the same way you need an electric toothbrush or a stand mixer or a unicorn; all get the job done with a little extra pizazz. There's absolutely nothing a slow-cooker can cook that a low oven can't, but it does nose ahead in some tasks. The wise editors at America's Test Kitchen, who just authored "Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2," insist that the appliance outperforms the stovetop when gently poaching shrimp or making a stir-free risotto. We also turned to Facebook for the expertise of some of the most opinionated folks we know –– home cooks –– to find out where else the slow-cooker excels.

    We gleaned many great ideas, but were also reminded of the powerful psychological appeal of

    Read More »from Using a Slow-Cooker: Do I Really Have to Do That?
  • Mollie Katzen: In My Kitchen

    Mollie Katzen has been the earth mother of vegetarian cooking since 1977, when the now classic "Moosewood Cookbook" nudged produce from side dish into the center of the plate. In order to pump up the taste of the era's canned and frozen veggies and create body and flavor in her meals, Katzen added rich ingredients like eggs, butter, and cream. But fresh, in-season vegetables are now plentiful in markets and kitchen gardens, and Katzen's cooking has changed, too. "My food is sharper, livelier, spicier, lighter, and more relaxed than it used to be," she writes in her new cookbook "The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Cooking for a New Generation." She invited Yahoo Shine into her bright, airy kitchen so we could spy the beloved tools that create such stellar, wholesome meals.



    1. Seeded glass cupboard doors through which I can gaze daily at my grandmother's teacup collection (find something similar at etsy.com).
    2. An original edition of The Tassajara Bread Book, dog-eared and stained, or

    Read More »from Mollie Katzen: In My Kitchen
  • Using Kosher Salt: Do I Really Have to Do That?

    There are certain labor-intensive recipe phrases that can make the most diligent cook roll her eyes. "Do I really have to do that?" we wonder. Leave your Do I Really Have To Do That? questions in the comments and they shall be answered, saving us all a lot of needless trouble.

    A salt by any name is still nearly 100 percent NaCl sodium chloride, but picking which salt to sprinkle feels a little like being Goldilocks: this grain's too small, this one's too big. Pair a salt with its perfect match, though, and you'll find the one that's just right.






    KOSHER SALT

    The name's a little confusing. Kosher salt, really called koshering salt, is named such because it's used in the meat koshering process to remove surface blood, not because it's made according to the Torah's guidelines for kosher food (nearly all salt is kosher). Chefs love kosher salt because of it's pinchability (handling the salt directly gives you more control when seasoning a dish) and a clean, pure flavor. In a blind taste test

    Read More »from Using Kosher Salt: Do I Really Have to Do That?
  • Vote for the Winner of the Shine Supper Club!

    All year I wait for August tomatoes, and since their arrival, I've made about 17 sandwiches with toasted sourdough bread, mayonnaise, and thick slices of ripe, imperfect Brandywine tomatoes. But aiming above the three-ingredient sandwich can reap rewards, as evidenced by the contributions to this month's Shine Supper Club. Find your new favorite sandwich recipe from all the entries, and then vote on your favorite in the poll below (open until noon PT on Wednesday, August 28) to choose this month's winner.

    And psst! Start thinking about next month, when we're all about the ease of the one-pot dinner.

    Read More »from Vote for the Winner of the Shine Supper Club!
  • Buying an Expensive Knife Set: Do I Really Have to Do That?

    There are certain labor-intensive recipe phrases that can make the most diligent cook roll her eyes. "Do I really have to do that?" we wonder. Leave your Do I Really Have To Do That? questions in the comments and they shall be answered, saving us all a lot of needless trouble.

    Knife sets are on every bridal registry and hog space on kitchen counters next to equally spendy and hulking Kitchen-Aid mixers (also from the registry, natch). If you're beginning your cooking life in earnest, surely you need a knife set, right?

    "They look great," says Brian Buckley, chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, "but knife sets are a waste of money and space." Think of those 100-color eye shadow palettes. They're appealing in their seeming completeness (sapphire! violet! fuchsia! wow!), but you're actually better off buying a couple neutral workhorses you can put to use. "Start with a few knives and add new ones for particular, specific, and personal reasons," advises Buckley. 

    We asked Read More »from Buying an Expensive Knife Set: Do I Really Have to Do That?
  • Trailer Mac and Cheese from Oakland's Homeroom

    Trailer Mac | Photo: Sara Remington
    "The ironic country cousin of our classic mac and cheese, trailer mac is made with creamy Cheddar sauce and chopped hot dog, then topped with crushed potato chips. Trailer Mac is the first mac and cheese we ever served, and it has a permanent place both on our menu and in our hearts. After asking dozens of people what their favorite ways to eat mac and cheese were, we invented Trailer Mac by combining the two most popular responses: with hot dogs and potato chips. At first we thought that these suggestions sounded kind of gross. But when we tried it, we understood how these two elements combine to create the perfect dish. The hot dog flavor permeates the cheese and fills the dish with a rich, meaty flavor, while the chips add great texture to every bite. Try it and you’ll understand why it has its own cult following." ––Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, The Mac + Cheese Cookbook

    Trailer Mac
    Serves 4

    1/2 pound dried elbow pasta
    2 cups Mac Sauce (recipe below)
    2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheeseRead More »from Trailer Mac and Cheese from Oakland's Homeroom
  • The Paleo Diet: Recipes That Work in the Real World

    The Paleo diet is praised by its supporters as a life-changer, whether you're a super-active CrossFitter, someone with gastrointestinal issues or food intolerances, or a regular lady just looking to fit into a smaller pair of pants. But, even as the Paleo diet reaches mainstream fever pitch, some of us are still trying to figure out what, exactly, our cave-dwelling ancestors might have eaten and how that can fit into a busy 21st century life. Is a prehistoric way of eating even realistic today?

    Where most people go wrong
    The stumbling blocks for most people happen in the first half of the day. "That was the biggest complaint from my clients," Diana Rodgers, a holistic nutritionist, told Yahoo! Shine. "'[They] don't know what to do for breakfast and lunch. Many people eat Paleo for dinner and don't even know it. But seldom do they eat Paleo for breakfast and lunch because we're so used to cereal and sandwiches as our go-tos." Rodgers designed a cookbook, "Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on

    Read More »from The Paleo Diet: Recipes That Work in the Real World

Pagination

(305 Stories)