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What’s the Difference Between Cornmeal and Polenta?

What’s the Difference Between Cornmeal and Polenta?

They're golden and used interchangeably. Yet polenta is a dish, and cornmeal is an ingredient — often the main ingredient in that dish. Hailing from northern Italy, polenta was originally a meal of any grain, coarsely ground and  slow-cooked in liquid until mushy. Then it's combined with other ingredients, from butter and cheese to sauces and gravies. When cooled, polenta hardens and can be cut into squares. READ MORE

How Is Toffee Different from Caramel?

How Is Toffee Different from Caramel?

Crackly, crunchy toffee and gooey, chewy caramel are sugary candy delights many of us have enjoyed off-and-on since childhood. But when these wonderful burnt sugar bombs are crumbled, chipped, or sauced, they seem like the same thing. You can eat both alone, as candy. And both make great sauces for drizzling over cakes and ice cream. They share the same light-amber hue. Despite their twin-like characteristics, caramel and toffee are brothers with different mothers. READ MORE

Make This Spring Your Best Burger and Beer-Filled Season Yet

Make This Spring Your Best Burger and Beer-Filled Season Yet

No matter where you are in the USA, a great burger and a cold beer are never far away. The combo is so American, it should be declared our national meal. Is there anything that says like flipping patties on the grill with a cold one at your side? READ MORE

What’s the Difference Between White and Yellow Cake?

What’s the Difference Between White and Yellow Cake?

Remember when vanilla was so … vanilla?  No longer. Once the outdoor warmth hits, many of us crave something lighter than the dense, fudgy, nutty chocolate depths we turn to in winter. Vanilla is nuanced. It's versatile. And it takes two main forms when it comes to cake: white and yellow. So what really is the difference between the two? READ MORE

What’s the Difference Between Fajitas and Tacos?

What’s the Difference Between Fajitas and Tacos?

Lumping together fajitas and tacos is like saying apples and apple pie are basically the same thing. Yes, they both involve fruit. But one is the party favor, and the other is the whole fiesta. The confusion lies with the fact that fajitas and tacos both have meat inside tortillas with toppings such as salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. READ MORE

Should You Rinse Meat Before Cooking?

Should You Rinse Meat Before Cooking?

It can be so tempting when you yank your glistening, bloody T-bone from its sealed plastic package with a snap, or unwrap that crimson lamb chop from the butcher paper like it's a gift. The urge overtakes many of you, especially when you wrest a shiny bird from its shrink-wrap. That chicken is so slick, he's just crying for it, you claim. READ MORE

What’s the Difference Between Chicken Stock and Chicken Broth?

What’s the Difference Between Chicken Stock and Chicken Broth?

We must confess: After an informal survey at the office and beyond, we discovered some of us (we're not naming names) — who love to cook — weren't 100-percent clear on the difference between chicken stock and broth. We knew one version was somewhat heartier, but which one and how, was befuddling (to some of us). A Google image search for broth continues to provide stock images. Chicken stock, that is. Professional chefs and experienced cooks like us spout the broth and stock terms interchangeably. For instance, we use both words in our Roasted Chicken Broth with Scallops and Chives recipe. READ MORE

Are Brown and White Sugar Interchangeable When Baking?

Are Brown and White Sugar Interchangeable When Baking?

If you can be a little flexible about the texture of your baked goods. READ MORE

What’s the Difference Between Naan and Pita?

What’s the Difference Between Naan and Pita?

Naan and pita look so similar. But … not quite. Look closer. One is fluffy, bubbly, and often oval-shaped. The other is circular and has these wonderfully convenient pockets, perfect for sandwiches. Those are the two most noticeable differences between naan and pita — both round, slightly leavened wheat flatbreads. You can brush them with oil or butter and sprinkle spice blends or herbs on them, if you so desire. They both make handy substitutes for pizza crust too. READ MORE

The Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Pantry

The Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning Your Pantry

KITCHEN PANTRY 101 Spring cleaning was always more of a psychological endeavor when we were growing up, a chance to clear minds and face new starts as our moms made us go purge our closets and our art-class wall hangings. As we get older, we realize spring cleaning has benefits beyond mere tidiness, especially in the kitchen. The annual pure of drawers, cupboards, and pantry is the one time of the year we assess the quality of our provisions: spices that have gone stale, half-opened boxes of cavatelli we shouldn’t let molder on the shelf, that three-year-old can of pork rillettes you picked up in Paris and know, realistically, you’ll never open. Consider this primer on freshening up your pantry a twofer. First, we’ll explain what to stock your shelves with if you’re starting from scratch, all the baseline essentials you’ll need to be a good and versatile cook. Second, we’ll suggest the things you should take a good look at in the first few weeks of spring to hit the reset button for the warm-weather season ahead. READ MORE