Blog Posts by YumSugar

  • Bring on the Bacon Grease! How to Handle, Store, and Use It

    Source: Bring On the Bacon Grease! How to Handle, Store, and Use It

    Before my nose fully reached the countertop, my grandmother would show me how to fry up a piece of bacon just to render the bacon fat for my favorite lady pea recipe. After all, the Southern attitude is of the "who needs spices or herbs when bacon's flavor will saturate and perfect just about any dish?" mentality. I've maintained that perspective in my kitchen today, and urge you to do the same. If you've been prone to toss out the liquid gold after frying up a few pieces of bacon, for goodness' sake, stop! Let me show you how to handle, store, and use bacon grease.

    • Start with frying up some bacon over the stovetop. After you've cooked the bacon, let the pan cool slightly.
    • Meanwhile, set up a ceramic bowl or glass jar, fitted with a fine-mesh strainer. Once you've consumed the bacon, return to the kitchen to pour the bacon grease over the mesh and into the bowl. The mesh catches the burnt bacon bits, yielding a
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  • May Must Haves for the Culinary Enthusiast

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: May Must Haves For the Culinary Enthusiast

    Balmy, beautiful May weather has us itching to entertain more often; thankfully, we've found a handful of new products that'll make it a breeze. From making homemade crackers and dips (with help from a handy cookbook), to whipping up batch after batch of vegan, gluten-free cupcakes, and even shaking up exceptional cocktails with a sense of place, these foodie finds will be indispensable in our efforts. We suggest you follow suit.

    • Next Meal: Engineering Food: Genetically engineered foods: how should they be regulated? How do they impact the environment? How badly do we need them? How could they shape the future? Quest's latest special, Next Meal: Engineering Food, attempts to answer these critical questions. Catch it online beginning May 7, or if you're in Northern California, on May 8 at 7:30 p.m. on KQED.
    • Tasting Room Wine Club by Lot18: When it comes to wine, selecting the "right" bottle can be overwhelming
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  • Vinous Gifts for the Wine-Loving Mom

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: Vinous Gifts For the Wine-Loving Mom

    Still stumped on what to get mom for Mother's Day? If she's a wine lover - and really, who isn't? - show her how much you care by indulging her enological tendencies. Read on for five ideas.

    • Skybar Wine Chill Drops: If all mom wants at the end of a long day is a cool glass of Chardonnay, make sure she never has to wait for a bottle to chill again. She can keep these Skybar Wine Chill Drops ($60 for two) in the freezer, pull one out when she opens a bottle of room-temp white or sparkling wine, and have a perfectly chilled glass in minutes.
    • Wine Subscription: What better way to show your appreciation for dear old mom than by having bottles of wine delivered to her doorstep each month? Give her a wine club subscription to her favorite winery, or if she wants to branch out, try a subscription to the Wine Garage. The Calistoga, CA-based club will send a selection of new wines to try several times a year, each for less than $25 a
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  • 11 Inspiring Cookbooks for New College Grads

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: 11 Inspiring Cookbooks For New College Grads

    While it's a near given that your college grad won't be longing for gloppy, barely serviceable dorm food postgrad, chances are she could use a little (or a lot) of culinary guidance as she moves on to the next step in her life. Help her along the way with the gift of one of our favorite beginner-friendly cookbooks; she may even show her thanks with a home-cooked meal!

    • Keys to the Kitchen: Written as a catch-all culinary guide for kitchen novices, Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference For Becoming a More Accomplished, Adventurous Cook ($35) by Aida Mollenkamp is a book that anyone can grow along with, as the detailed recipes are easy enough for a novice to execute, while remaining novel and intriguing. This thick tome also comes packed with technique primers, tips on sourcing ingredients (and substitutions), and suggestions for riffs on the recipes within, making for a one-stop shop.
    • America's
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  • 5 Artichoke Recipes We Heart for Spring

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: 5 Artichoke Recipes We Heart For Spring

    From simple steamed 'chokes to elaborate artichoke spinach-stuffed mushrooms, these recipes feature a thorny thistle that we sure do love. If you heart artichokes, too, keep reading for five ways to serve it up this Spring.

    • Mushrooms Stuffed With Artichoke and Spinach Dip: Sometimes artichoke and spinach dip can look oh so unappealing on the table, but that's not the case with these dainty stuffed artichokes.
    • Artichokes With Lemon-Pepper Butter: Steamed artichokes with lemon-pepper butter: the bright citrus butter and peak-of-the-season produce make this a happy flavor marriage, indeed.
    • Warm Artichoke Salad: While the weather is still a tad bit cool, warm up to a wilted artichoke, parmesan, and spinach salad for dinner.
    • Italian-Style Artichokes: Some prefer a more acidic treatment to steamed artichokes. This one features a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing.
    • Marinated Artichokes:
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  • Cooking Basics: Vinegars 101

    Source: Cooking Basics: Vinegars 101

    If balsamic is the only variety of vinegar in your pantry, then it's time to expand your horizons. Whether you're looking for a sweet, savory, or tangy taste, you can boost flavor easily with the right vinegar. Not sure where to start? We're breaking down some of the most popular types of vinegar and the best dishes to drizzle them on, so before you grab your standby balsamic, take a look at these must-try vinegars:

    • Apple cider: Tan, tart, and slightly fruity, apple cider vinegar works best in salad dressings and poultry marinades.
    • Balsamic: One of the most popular vinegars, balsamic can be used in dressings, dips, marinades, sauces, and reductions, topping everything from salads to desserts to meat and seafood. Made with white grapes and aged for several years, traditional balsamic vinegar is both sweet and sour, so it works well with sweet foods and salty dishes - especially cheese.
    • Wine: Perfect to drizzle over sautéed vegetables
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  • Shopping the Bulk Foods Aisle: Why You Should Bother

    Source: Shopping the Bulk Foods Aisle: Why You Should Bother

    If you're not yet acquainted with your supermarket's bulk aisle, there's no time like the present. Assuming your market has high turnover, bulk items are generally fresher, more economical - particularly when you need just a bit of an ingredient - and allow for eco-friendly shopping as they reduce and can even eliminate disposable packaging from the equation. Add to that the variety of snacks, staples, and even spices on offer in some stores, and it's no wonder many swear by this section. But before we get carried away, keep these tips in mind:

    • Stock up on storage containers: Transfer your newly bought loot to a sturdy storage container - whether it be a pop-top container for grains, nuts, dried fruit, and the like, or small jars for spices - to avoid a pile up of flimsy plastic bags, and an organizational headache. That said, if you're planning to use up the contents of your purchase within a few days, don't
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  • 6 Grilled Cheese Stars that Aren't Cheddar

    Source: 6 Grilled Cheese Stars That Aren't Cheddar

    While we'll happily dig into an ooey-gooey grilled cheese starring sharp cheddar or American cheese - bonus points for homemade - there's something to be said for exploring the cheese counter's other enticing options. Most aged cheeses are worth experimenting with - fresh or brined cheeses like chèvre or feta typically don't melt properly - here are some of our favorites; let us know in the comments if we left your favorite off!

    • Fontina: This mild, buttery Italian cheese is practically made to be melted; try it with pancetta, basil, and peaches (or strawberries, while we wait on stone-fruit season) for a salty-sweet treat.
    • Brie: Creamy, earthy brie; camembert; and other bloomy rind cheeses like Vermont Farmstead's Lillé lend richness, velvety texture, and a mild mushroom-like funk and are particularly perfect when paired with sweet-leaning elements like blackberry jam or fig preserves.
    • Raclette: If you love
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  • 11 Likeable Licorice-Flavored Candies and Treats

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: 11 Likeable Licorice-Flavored Candies and Treats

    Many celebrated National Licorice Day earlier this month, but if your first reaction is "Eww, licorice," then these 11 items may have you rethinking the anise-flavored root. From liqueur to laces to tea, these items will prove to you that it's about time to give licorice another chance.

    • Licorice Twists: These Newman's Own Organics Black Licorice Twists ($38 for pack of 15) are made with real licorice root extract and taste the way the original, old-fashioned candy intended.
    • Licorice Tea: Reach for Yogi Egyptian Licorice Herbal Tea ($19 for pack of six) for a sweet finish to a meal or to comfort a sore throat.
    • Licorice Laces: It's not squid ink spaghetti, but rather Gustaf's Licorice Laces ($26 for six pounds), which is an addictive way to slurp up the sugar.
    • Licorice Cough Drops: Licorice can be throat-soothing, so when your throat is feeling scratchy, look no further than Luden's Honey
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  • The Worry-Free Guide to Cooking with Nonstick Pans

    Source: The Worry-Free Guide to Cooking With Nonstick Pans

    Nonstick pans have gotten a bit of a bad rep over the last few years, but it's not all necessarily worth fretting about. While the slippery surface makes cooking healthy foods likes eggs and veggies easier, it is made from a special paint manufactured using a toxic chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Although this chemical is almost always removed in production, there may still be trace amounts of PFOA in the final coating, causing concern. While the above 500° F. This is because the pan may begin to decompose, emitting PFOA fumes. Most foods don't need to be cooked at such high temperatures, but steak is an exception, making cast iron pans a better option.

    • Avoid preheating your pan: Preheating a nonstick pan is similar to cooking foods at high temperatures. Doing this overheats the pan quickly, shortening the lifespan of the pan. If you do a lot of cooking, then consider investing in a heavier-weight
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