The Storage Hack That Leads to Flakier Pastries

How many times has a pie crust or biscuit or scone recipe insisted that you start with cold butter and make sure it stays cold at all costs?

This, we are told, is the secret to success. Because when cold butter bits nestled in pillowy dough hit a hot …

How many times has a pie crust or biscuit or scone recipe insisted that you start with cold butter and make sure it stays cold at all costs?

This, we are told, is the secret to success. Because when cold butter bits nestled in pillowy dough hit a hot oven, they melt, producing steam, creating layers, yielding flaky baked goods. Hence the proceed-with-caution signs for warm fingertips and summery kitchens.

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Small-Kitchen Cooking Tips from a Camper-Living Chef

When many New York City dwellers fled to smaller towns and rural areas last year, I, like many others, was skeptical of their intentions. But the journey of one of my favorite voices in the city’s food scene, Lee Kalpakis, was one that felt inspiring (…

When many New York City dwellers fled to smaller towns and rural areas last year, I, like many others, was skeptical of their intentions. But the journey of one of my favorite voices in the city’s food scene, Lee Kalpakis, was one that felt inspiring (and soothing!) to follow during this time. When the pandemic hit, Kalpakis—who has worked as a recipe developer, food stylist, culinary producer, and video host—and her partner both lost their jobs; they decided to give up their Brooklyn loft and move to the Catskills, where they both grew up. But instead of another apartment, they purchased a bare-bones 1976 Fleetwood Prowler van to refurbish. Now, they’re on their own land—much more isolated than when they had started out in 2020—but building a home all their own.

Though Kalpakis has spent most of her professional life working in restaurants (including her parents’ growing up) and large test kitchens, she’s accustomed to cooking in small spaces by nature of living in NYC apartments. Now, she's figuring out how to evolve her cooking, not just for a weekend camping trip, but for the long haul in the woods.

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How to Boil Chicken—to Put Toward So Many Good Meals

It’s hard to beat the convenience of boiled chicken. Sure, it can’t compete with the crackly crunch of fried, the golden schmaltz of roasted, the smoky char of grilled. But! Its swift preparation, snappy ingredient list, and meal prep prowess are secon…

It’s hard to beat the convenience of boiled chicken. Sure, it can’t compete with the crackly crunch of fried, the golden schmaltz of roasted, the smoky char of grilled. But! Its swift preparation, snappy ingredient list, and meal prep prowess are second to none. So let’s boil some chicken today and pat ourselves on the back tomorrow.

Which Chicken Cut Works Best?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The path of least resistance for white meat superfans—no bones to pick around or skin to remove. Put toward celery-studded chicken salad or extra-cheesy baked ziti.

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17 Crispy, Crunchy Napa Cabbage Recipes

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a part of the vast brassica family (along with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts). It’s different from standard green cabbage in that it has thick white ribs and crinkly, soft yellow or pale green leaves w…

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a part of the vast brassica family (along with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts). It's different from standard green cabbage in that it has thick white ribs and crinkly, soft yellow or pale green leaves with a feathery texture. But it's not just their looks that are different: As Russ Parsons notes in How to Pick a Peach: "Asian cabbages (Brassica rapa) actually come from a different species than European cabbages (Brassica oleracea). They are more closely related to bok choy, broccoli rabe, and, most oddly, turnips." 

You can find napa cabbage at most grocery stores with well-stocked produce sections, but if not, an Asian market will definitely carry it. Pick a heavy head with bright white ribs and crisp leaves that don't look limp or tired. To keep it fresh, wrap the cabbage in plastic wrap and store in the vegetable crisper. Feel free to peruse our 17 favorite napa cabbage recipes for inspiration on how to use it. Napa cabbage has a more delicate flavor and texture than Western cabbage, but substitutes easily, making it perfect for eating raw in salad and slaw (but still tough enough to stand up well to all kinds of cooking methods).

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Wait, This Is the Best Way to Mince Garlic?

I come from a family of garlic lovers: The kind of family that fought over the cloves of garlic tucked into sautéed greens at an Italian restaurant. The kind that gifted things like a Garlic Lovers’ Cookbook, complete with a wacky, but very real, recip…

I come from a family of garlic lovers: The kind of family that fought over the cloves of garlic tucked into sautéed greens at an Italian restaurant. The kind that gifted things like a Garlic Lovers' Cookbook, complete with a wacky, but very real, recipe for garlic ice cream (full disclosure, I have never attempted it.)

Sautéeing garlic with another allium—shallots, onions, leeks, or a combination therein—builds a strong flavor foundation for any dish. It will also make your kitchen smell incredible almost instantaneously (I’ve been dreaming of a “sautéed onion” Yankee Candle for years.) Suffice it to say that I’ve minced a lot of garlic in my day. But it wasn’t until I started professionally recipe testing that I learned the ‘why’ and not just the ‘how’ behind mincing garlic.

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5 Foolproof Tricks for Cooking Even Better Pasta

Pasta Social Club is a column by Meryl Feinstein, Food52’s Resident Pasta Maker, community builder, and pastaia extraordinaire. Meryl will teach us about everything from semolina to spaghetti to sauce (and all the tools you’ll need for each)—and will s…

Pasta Social Club is a column by Meryl Feinstein, Food52's Resident Pasta Maker, community builder, and pastaia extraordinaire. Meryl will teach us about everything from semolina to spaghetti to sauce (and all the tools you'll need for each)—and will show us how pasta is a great way to make great friends and have lots of fun.


A box of pasta is a beautiful thing. It has your back when there’s nothing left in the kitchen but an old tube of tomato paste and a few cloves of garlic. It’s perfect for when you’re short on time, but it’s also best friends with the Sunday sauce that’s been simmering on the stove for hours. And nothing beats that al dente bite.

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How to Store Fresh Herbs So They Last And Last

Ideally, you’d “store” fresh herbs in the garden, never snipping more than you needed. The chives on your scrambled eggs, the cilantro on your tacos, and the basil on your pizza would always be bright, fragrant, and bursting with life. Alas, the real w…

Ideally, you'd "store" fresh herbs in the garden, never snipping more than you needed. The chives on your scrambled eggs, the cilantro on your tacos, and the basil on your pizza would always be bright, fragrant, and bursting with life. Alas, the real world doesn't work that way. To avoid wasting nature's herbaceous gifts, we must use our ingenuity.

There are multiple complex factors influencing produce's longevity, and most of us don't have the means, the time, or even the inclination to precisely control for all of them. Conjuring maximum herbal freshness is therefore more art than science. Rather than recommend one approach, let's discuss the basic elements of freshness, then look at how things can go wrong so that you can respond based on what you observe in your kitchen.

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The Controversial Kitchen Tool That’s Become My Staple

Any professional chef will tell you that good knives are only to be sharpened manually and with a whetstone—electric knife sharpeners are for the uneducated, who don’t truly care about their tools. So like any self-respecting cook (someone who intervie…

Any professional chef will tell you that good knives are only to be sharpened manually and with a whetstone—electric knife sharpeners are for the uneducated, who don't truly care about their tools. So like any self-respecting cook (someone who interviews chefs for a living!) I never deigned to purchase a knife sharpener. Instead I bought a whetstone, found it impossible to use, stuck it far away in a drawer, and subsequently got my knives sharpened by a professional every three months or so (honing daily in-between).

This strategy was working quite well for me, until the world was placed into quarantine. My day job of filming a public television show about food was replaced this spring by becoming a glorified in-home chef/cleaner for my family, a homeschool prisoner/teacher, and the kind of person who does daily Instagram Lives cooking with her son just to have a reason to get dressed. As the days and weeks dragged into months, I was suddenly faced with a new problem. My daily knife honing was no match for knives that required sharpening.

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How to Cook Perfectly Fluffy Quinoa (Every Single Time)

Learn how to cook quinoa to fluffy perfection, and you’ll open the door to a world of wholesome, delicious recipes that call for this nutrient-rich seed (that’s right, it’s a seed!) If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa. And if you can’t cook rice …

Learn how to cook quinoa to fluffy perfection, and you'll open the door to a world of wholesome, delicious recipes that call for this nutrient-rich seed (that's right, it's a seed!) If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa. And if you can't cook rice but can follow simple step-by-step instructions, you're just a few simple steps away from whipping up a pot of quinoa that's as welcome in a salad or soup as it is in cookies, meatballs, or burgers.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a seed (or pseudo-cereal) native to the Andes Mountains. It's closely related to amaranth, and contains all nine amino acids, which makes it a complete food on its own. While you can absolutely enjoy quinoa on its own, it takes very well to any savory preparation that calls for whole grains like bulgur, brown rice, buckwheat, and farro. Quinoa can also be added to sweet recipes like cookies and cakes, and made into sweet or savory porridge for a rib-sticking breakfast.

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How to Soften Cream Cheese (& Bake Your Heart Out With It)

Ah, cream cheese. We know it, we love it, it’s our old standby bagel topping. But this tangy spread is so much more than a schmear. Cream cheese is a rich dairy product that makes an amazing addition to pastries, pastas, and more, adding a smooth, rich…

Ah, cream cheese. We know it, we love it, it's our old standby bagel topping. But this tangy spread is so much more than a schmear. Cream cheese is a rich dairy product that makes an amazing addition to pastries, pastas, and more, adding a smooth, rich quality to everything it touches. But it can be tricky to work with when cold: it sticks to itself, clumping together, and nobody wants lumpy frosting, am I right? For this reason, when it comes to working the stuff into recipes, especially desserts, most recipes call for softened cream cheese. Once it comes to room temperature, cream cheese can properly incorporate into a batter or emulsify a frosting.

How to Soften Cream Cheese in the Microwave

Since cream cheese has such a high fat content, it doesn’t take long to come to room temperature if the room is relatively warm. It takes about thirty minutes on the counter to soften significantly, and about an hour to fully come to room temperature (again, depending on the temperature outside and in your kitchen). But if you’re strapped for time, or have a sudden craving for cheesecake, you can cut that time down to seconds. Remove any packaging (especially foil!) and place the block of cream cheese on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 15 seconds, then poke the center of the cream cheese block to test the texture. If it’s still not your desired softness, continue microwaving in 10-second intervals, but err on the side of caution. A little firmer is better than melted, which will be hard to salvage and potentially unusable in a recipe. The cream cheese should feel soft and hold a fingerprint when pressed.

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