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Demystifying Tofu Skin

The chewy, satisfying texture of tofu skins (also known as yuba or bean curd sheets) makes them a welcome component of dim sum dishes. But at the store, they often come as mysterious dried sheets resembling rice paper, says EWSflash. What to do with them? Fresh tofu skin is sometimes available, but if you're using the dried kind, you need to rehydrate the sheets with water or stock, says fourunder. Chemicalkinetics lets bean curd skins soak in cool water for a few hours; you can speed up the process by using warmer water. READ MORE

Unique’s Extra Dark “Splits”: Perfect Pretzels?

"When I think about it, the parts of a pretzel I've always liked best are the crisp ends," says CindyJ. And Extra Dark "Splits" from Unique... READ MORE

What to Do with Sour Green Plums

Piles of small, bright green plums are showing up these days in supermarkets, especially Middle Eastern markets, says jumpingmonk. They're ... READ MORE

Kimchi: Fresh or Funky?

After tasting kimchi from a small container, DWB loved the fermented funk and vinegary tang enough to acquire an industrial-sized jar—"the kind that makes you remove a shelf from the fridge to accommodate it." The problem? The new jar had none of the tang or funk that DWB liked so much. "Sounds like you bought fresh kimchi," says alwaystired, referring to kimchi that hasn't been aged long enough to taste pointedly fermented. There's nothing wrong with that; in fact, alwaystired prefers the fresh stuff. If you want the intense, fermented flavors, just leave your fresh kimchi in the fridge for a week or two, alwaystired says, or kick-start the process by leaving it out at room temperature for a day. READ MORE

Should Raw Beef Be Brown or Red?

Sometimes raw ground beef is a healthy-looking red color on the outside, but inside it's more of a brown color. This is perfectly normal... READ MORE

The Easiest Slice-and-Bake Cookies

What's the easiest cookie you can make that you won't be reluctant to eat? Tubes of slice-and-bake cookie dough get high scores for convenience, but some hounds object to the flavor. The packaged doughs all have a bit of an artificial taste, says gooddog—especially plain sugar cookie dough. But "with more stuff added, that taste gets masked." READ MORE

Instant Coffee in Liquid Form?

While traveling through Quito, Ecuador, standish was intrigued by the unusual way the owner of a hostel prepared coffee. "Basically she had... READ MORE

True Yams: Delicious and Sweet If You Can Find Them!

There's perennial confusion about sweet potatoes and yams; most sweet tubers for sale in the United States are sweet potatoes, not true yam... READ MORE

What Do You Eat When No One Is Looking?

What "weird" foods do Chowhounds eat in the kitchen when nobody's looking? Surprisingly, delicious fats usually reserved for cooking are a popular indulgence. biondanonima's secret snack is butter—straight from a spoon. "My husband found this equally fascinating and repulsive when we first started living together, but to me it's no different than eating a very rich triple creme cheese, or a spoonful of crème fraîche, etc.," she says. Jzone has a similar penchant: a spoonful of good extra-virgin olive oil. "I love a great evoo from almost anywhere in the Mediterranean and will sip some straight up with a pinch of grey salt or fleur de sel," Jzone says. "Currently really enjoying a Palestinian evoo." Finally, mutti likes pure duck fat smeared on French bread. READ MORE

Cooking Large Dried Lima Beans

Large dried lima beans (called "butter beans" when cooked and canned) have a completely different flavor from small limas, says greygarious... READ MORE