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Highlights from the General Topics and Cookware boards. Food trends, food products, and burning questions.

Homemade Refried Beans: Worth the Effort?

It takes time and effort to make refried beans from scratch. Are they enough of an improvement over canned ones to be worth it? Will Owen makes them from scratch

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How Cold Should You Serve Salads?

Should fresh salad greens be served cold or room temperature? emglow101 likes them cold, just out of the fridge, but has friends who like greens with the chill removed. “Room

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Napoleons Without the Mess

Leaves of delicate puff pastry support layers of pastry cream in the French dessert called a napoleon (also mille-feuille and millefoglie). It’s beautiful, but how do you eat it (or

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Sunflower Seeds That Taste Like Dill Pickles?

Unbeknownst to some hounds, seasoned sunflower seeds are available in many flavors. The ones that taste like dill pickles might be the ultimate salty, high-fat snack for road trips, though

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Vegetable Tempura from the Freezer

Can you coat vegetables in tempura batter and freeze them for frying later? waholi had trouble: The vegetables turned out rubbery and/or freezer-burned. will47 suggests slicing, battering, and frying the

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Can You Taste Annatto in American Cheese?

Annatto, the seeds of the achiote plant, is used in American cheese as a natural source of orange dye, says Delucacheesemonger. Annatto seeds have a subtle flavor, too subtle to

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Adorable Thai Pea Eggplants

At a Thai market, lottobear came across an unfamiliar vegetable: tiny green spheres, each about the size of a raspberry. After consulting with Chowhounds, lottobear found out what they are:

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Making Ceviche from Cooked Shrimp

If it’s cooked, does it still technically count as ceviche? If you’re using shrimp, then the answer is yes—it’s completely authentic and appropriate to parboil the shrimp before soaking in

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The Right Way to Add Anchovies to Pizza?

Do you love anchovies on pizza, but hate when they’re reduced to “little skidmarks of salt” (as hazelhurst describes it)? Baking can change the delicate texture and complex flavor of

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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

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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 are “over-baked” all over,

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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 always sold firm, underripe by the standard of more familiar

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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

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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 and exactly what it should look

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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

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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 a tall, glass, refrigerated decanter of thick, syrupy

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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 yams. But Will Owen has found a kind

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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

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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, even though they’re the same color. greygarious says these

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How to School Yourself in Wine

Is a deep understanding of wine something anyone can learn? How about pairing wine with food? “I know what sommeliers will tell you (what they are trained to tell you):

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Go Ahead, Store Onions in the Fridge

Onions keep best when stored in cool, dark places—sparrowgrass thinks the fridge works just fine. “Don’t store potatoes and onions in the same place,” sparrowgrass warns. “One causes the other

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