4 Unforgettable Cooking Lessons We Learned in 2020

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a year we’ll always remember. None of us could have predicted how it played out, but all of us are looking forward to a clean slate come January. While we all experience setbacks and a fair share of tough times, t…

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a year we'll always remember. None of us could have predicted how it played out, but all of us are looking forward to a clean slate come January. While we all experience setbacks and a fair share of tough times, the year gave us some necessary time to reflect and work on ourselves.

Because of the circumstances, there has been such a dramatic shift in the way we carry out our daily routines, many of us have found ways to adapt. Unsurprisingly, this shift has made its way into our kitchens, and has all but transformed the way we've all been cooking. I recently talked with some chefs, cookbook authors, and passionate home cooks about how the past year has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. In our conversations, one thing was resoundingly clear: We all came out of the year with a new appreciation for the little things, and a focus on moving in a positive direction as we look ahead. With that in mind, here are the cooking lessons we'll take into 2021 and beyond.

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How to Safely Mail Treats So They Arrive Fresh & Crumble-Free

Every year, at the start of December, my kitchen is transformed into a cookie making factory. I load up on butter, chocolate chips, nuts, vanilla extract, and a permanent fixture on the counter because I’m making dozens of batches each day. I do this b…

Every year, at the start of December, my kitchen is transformed into a cookie making factory. I load up on butter, chocolate chips, nuts, vanilla extract, and a permanent fixture on the counter because I’m making dozens of batches each day. I do this because I’m obsessed with cookies, and two, I make up tins for pretty much everyone I know. Teachers, friends, acquaintances, and even the mail and garbage man get a big ol’ tin of cookies as a way to tell them all how much they mean to me. It makes the end of the year pretty darn sweet, and I can’t imagine not doing it.

This year, I don’t have friends dropping by, I won’t be heading to the usual round of holiday parties, and I’m not really even meeting up for a friendly coffee. Hence, the opportunities to dole out my confections are limited. But that’s not stopping me. This year, I’m shipping far and wide so that no matter what, it still feels like the holidays. So, I stopped by my local post office to get the ins and outs of safely and effectively shipping baked goods because no one likes the way a cookie crumbles.

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How to Cook Tender, Buttery, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Scallops

For many of us, the thought of cooking seafood at home is a bit overwhelming, even scary. We order it in restaurants or save it for special occasions, and yet cooking seafood can be totally accessible. Scallops, for instance, involve very few ingredien…

For many of us, the thought of cooking seafood at home is a bit overwhelming, even scary. We order it in restaurants or save it for special occasions, and yet cooking seafood can be totally accessible. Scallops, for instance, involve very few ingredients and steps, ideal for weeknights. They don’t require any fussy pre-prep like marinating or salting, either—just a thorough rinse in some cold water and a good pat dry. Scallops are the perfect quick meal: little effort, simple ingredients, delicious results.

First, let's break down a few essential distinctions, so you can shop confidently at the fishmonger or market when you're ready to dive in to these new waters.

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10 Make-Ahead Appetizers for a Streamlined, Stress-Free Holiday

A few years back, I came to the realization that the star of my holiday table is not in fact the turkey, or the ham, or even the crown rib roast. Though we all ostensibly come together for the picture-perfect moment when Dad carves up the big bird, or …

A few years back, I came to the realization that the star of my holiday table is not in fact the turkey, or the ham, or even the crown rib roast. Though we all ostensibly come together for the picture-perfect moment when Dad carves up the big bird, or slices up the roast, the real excitement is the flurry of activity that happens around cocktail hour. Regardless of what's on the dinner menu, everyone jumps for the tartlets, canapés, and mile-long cheese board I place out hours before dinnertime. Who doesn’t love tasting different bites of cheesy, gooey, savory snacks before all the mashed potatoes and gravy?

I also realized that as much as my guests and I love appetizers, I seem to dread my appetizer prep each year (let’s face it—making 100 of anything can be time-consuming and just a little stressful). But, knowing I couldn’t give up my favorite little bites (give the people what they want!), I thought about what I could do to get them checked off the list well ahead of the big day. It soon dawned on me: If I chose wisely, many of my cocktail nibbles could be made weeks ahead of time and stockpiled in my freezer.

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7 Smart Tips That Make Thanksgiving Shopping Soooo Much Easier

While it may feel like we were just slathering on sunscreen and packing a bag for a long day at the beach, summer is sadly behind us. Now, leaves are falling from the trees, seasonal wreaths are hanging from our doors, and holiday planning mode is offi…

While it may feel like we were just slathering on sunscreen and packing a bag for a long day at the beach, summer is sadly behind us. Now, leaves are falling from the trees, seasonal wreaths are hanging from our doors, and holiday planning mode is officially beginning. For me, as soon as my kids start suiting up for the big trick or treat, I have one thing on my mind: Thanksgiving.

It may sound like I’m jumping the gun a bit, but Thanksgiving is quite honestly my favorite holiday of the year—the one day everyone celebrates with enthusiasm. And while it doesn't involve any gift-giving, it does require some thoughtfulness and preparation in other ways. As the annual host for my large family's Thanksgiving dinner, I have learned that I can't start planning early enough.

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