Stacy Fraser's Blog

November 10, 2015 - 2:48pm

Save room for this! Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, there’s more than one way to make it better. Our master recipe helps you make a lightened-up version of this must-have holiday side.

1. Start With Dry (Not Stale) Bread

Dry bread (almost as dry as croutons) absorbs liquid and seasoning better than fresh (or even stale). To dry out your bread: Spread 10 cups 1/2- to 1-inch bread cubes (from 1-1 1/2 pounds) on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 275°F until dry to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool; transfer to a large bowl.


2. Load Up On Veg Or Fruit

A base of sautéed vegetables makes the best stuffing: Heat 2 full post »
November 10, 2015 - 2:43pm

The moment you turn your oven on, it starts getting hot, but most take a full 20 minutes to be fully preheated—even if the indicator light (or chime) says it’s ready sooner.

The indicator signals when the air in the oven is hot enough, but for it to be well heated, the walls also need to be hot. If they’re not, most of the heat in the oven escapes when you open the door. Put in a chicken in to roast in a cool oven and it starts steaming instead of roasting. In the end, you might find yourself with a dry chicken because it lost too much moisture during the first few minutes in the oven. Plus, without enough heat to activate the chemical reaction of cooking (the Maillard reaction), that chicken just won’t brown properly or develop the rich flavor that makes it taste so good. A “too cool” oven isn’t the only reason to wait—if you rush, it might actually...

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August 25, 2015 - 1:15pm

Gluten—a combination of proteins found in wheat, rye and/or barley flour—gives structure and elasticity to baked goods. When you remove gluten, the support needed to lift and lighten the treats during baking is missing. The results can be dense, gummy or crumbly. The best gluten-free (GF) baked goods are made with a blend of GF flours, starches and often natural “gums,” such as xanthan gum, to replicate a traditional texture.

You can make your own GF flour blend or keep it simple and choose one of the blends already on the market. We swapped four different GF flour blends for the wheat flour(s) in our Chocolate-Beet Cupcakes, Banana-Blueberry Muffins and Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. Each one produced a slightly different texture...

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August 25, 2015 - 1:09am

We’ve simmered down our favorite technique for making homemade chicken soup into one easy-to-follow changeable chicken soup recipe. Every great pot starts with garlic, onions, bone-in chicken breast and low-sodium broth. After that, you add your favorite seasonings, vegetables and whole-grains and/or beans. Start with a classic combination of carrots, celery, peas and egg noodles or go for a different blend of vegetables and seasonings to create your new favorite chicken soup. Whichever path you follow, you’ll be serving up bowls of homemade soup brimming with vegetables and fiber with a fraction of the sodium found in traditional soups.

Step 1: Lay the Base
The best soups start with a combination of aromatic vegetables cooked in oil to bring out their flavor. To start, heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot over...

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July 15, 2014 - 1:31pm

A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is virtually nonstick, so it’s worth taking the time to season (or re­season) correctly. If you have a new skillet or an old one you want to rehab, the method is the same:

  • • Cover the bottom of the pan with a thick layer of kosher salt.
  • • Add about half an inch of oil and place over high heat.
  • • When the oil starts to smoke, pour the salt and oil into a heatproof bowl to cool before discarding.
  • • Using a ball of paper towels, rub the inside of the pan until smooth.
  • • When you clean your cast-iron skillet, don’t use soap or a dishwasher. Just scrub it with a stiff brush and hot water and then wipe dry with a towel or set it over low heat until dry.
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