Articles rss

Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.

Fruit Salad in a Fancy Dress

With the bounty of summer fruits available, fruit salad is often on the menu. Perk it up by adding a dressing that complements the fruity flavor.

Simple syrup infused with spices that complement the fruit makes a nice dressing. janniecooks likes to use cardamom with citrus fruits, and mamueller steeps fresh ginger in simple syrup.

For creamy dressings, yogurt is a popular base. Sweeten it with a bit of honey or brown sugar, and flavor with citrus zest if you like. phoenikia likes a dressing of yogurt, honey, lime, and crystallized ginger. For a richer dressing, cheesymama uses crème fraîche with maple syrup.

Filipino fruit cocktail is dressed with blended condensed milk and cream cheese for a sort of cheesecake flavor, and tossed with shredded young coconut and brightly colored agar for textural contrast and color, says JungMann.

For a fruit salad with a slightly alcoholic tingle, try CHOW's Melon Salad with Sweet Wine and Lemon

Discuss: Dressing for fruit salad?

How to Get Your Clams Squeaky Clean

Clams can harbor grit that makes eating unpleasant, so it's worth the extra step to soak before cooking in order to purge them.

Many sources recommend adding cornmeal to the soaking water to help the process along. "I used to use cornmeal to purge clams," says JoanN, "until I read Rick Moonen on the subject. He says that cornmeal works just fine; the clams exchange whatever impurities they may have inside for the cornmeal. But then, when you go to cook the clams, you've got polenta." Now JoanN uses about 1/4 cup of coarse salt per quart of soaking water, for about half an hour. "Works fine," she says. "No polenta."

"Some bivalves are dirtier them others," notes MGZ. "Therefore, how long they must sit in the water will vary. Typically, I change the water now and again and look to see if there's sand in the bottom of the tub. If not, it's time to eat."

You can soak wild mussels the same way, but cultivated mussels are usually grit-free and don't need soaking.

Discuss: Grit in my clams – and what didn't work to clean it out

Overheard on the Home Cooking Board

"I always wash berries and cherries before freezing. But I also drain well and dry with dish towels. Then I put them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze—this way they don't stick to each other—when frozen solid, transfer to a bag or other container."– Junie D

"One of my easiest summer pastas is to put olive oil, chopped ripe tomatoes, fresh shredded basil with some salt and pepper in a big serving bowl. Cover it and let it sit at room temp a few hours before serving. Cook fusilli, cavatappi, or cappelletti. While that cooks toss some lemon zest and lemon juice, plus a soft cheese like ricotta or Brie into the bowl. Pour drained pasta over and mix." – hotoynoodle

"[J]uice three Granny Smith apples and add to your lemonade for a tart kick. You can reduce the sugar somewhat due to the sweet-tartness of the apples. Green apple lemonade is addictive." – CDouglas

What the *&@#%!$ Should I Do with All This Lettuce?

Why relegate lettuce to salads when you can roll it up into a fat blunt and smoke it?!

Let me explain.

When researching new ways to use lettuce in the kitchen (sick as I was of green salads as a dinner table staple), I came across quite a few wild lettuce chat boards filled with comments about the sedative and narcotic effects of the lowly plant we chomp on as an appetizer or palate cleanser. Wild lettuce is a cousin of the leaf lettuces we eat on a regular basis. Suddenly my ideas of lettuce soup and braised lettuce seemed so lame. READ MORE

The People’s Farm

The Free Farm on Gough Street in San Francisco is a radical idea. The gist: an empty lot in a sorta sketchy part of town that is being cultivated by volunteers who give all the food away for free to the community, both on site and on Saturdays in the Mission at a Free Farm stand. READ MORE

Earthworks on a Plate

Play Video

Dinner at San Francisco restaurant COI. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

Bad Robot, No Coffee for You

Coffeehouses in San Francisco used to be bohemian, grimy places where you read the Bay Guardian and there were really bad oil paintings on the walls. That all changed in 2005, when Ritual Coffee Roasters opened on Valencia Street. Ritual roasted its own beans and put out amazing espresso and drip coffee—for high prices. But soon, Ritual was colonized by a robotic race of laptop users. Any time of day, every seat was taken by somebody typing away, Facebooking, trolling Craigslist. READ MORE

Fake Chocolate Mousse to Celebrate Me o’Clock

Fake Chocolate Mousse to Celebrate Me o’Clock

This week's mission: low-calorie mousse that's not as indulgent as it claims to be. READ MORE

Are Asian Desserts Too Weird for Americans?

ipsedixit wonders why Americans love savory Asian foods, but Asian desserts have never really caught on in America. "When will sweet red beans get traction on American dessert menus in the same way that things like egg rolls or fried rice have on the app/entrée side?" asks ipsedixit. "Or what about things like mochi? Or shaved ice? Almond tofu anyone?"

Part of this is that Asian desserts tend to be less sweet, and Americans prefer stronger, sweeter desserts, says gfr1111. "One of the things that surprised me the most in Singapore was all the chocolate cake covered with chocolate frosting available in the downtown bakeries," says gfr1111. "These cakes look gorgeous. However, when you eat them, you discover that the chocolate cake has almost no chocolate flavor and the chocolate frosting is made out of gelatin and a minimal amount of chocolate. It isn't very sweet, either." K K agrees: "While I don't know what Black Forest Cake tastes like in Europe, the version in Hong Kong is lighter and doesn't overload like some triple chocolate cheesecake."

Asian desserts also use "weird" textures and "weird" flavors in their desserts, and Americans are pretty conservative about what is considered dessert. "Western palates are going for novel sweet savory desserts now, partially because they are accessible tweaks of standards," says JungMann. "Sweetened tofu, beans, or avocado, however, meet a little more resistance. Not only are these savory foods, but they are popularly categorized and limited to certain applications." "And the whole notion of beans in a dessert is off-putting for some," says BigSal.

Discuss: The next frontier in Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) cuisine? Desserts?

Lowbrow Gummy Bears Get Fancied Up

Lowbrow Gummy Bears Get Fancied Up

This week's mission: The world finally has artisanal gummies. READ MORE