Tag Archives: Cooking

A Last-Minute Thanksgiving Guide to Everything You Forgot

Hosting Thanksgiving can be fun, but there’ll always be stress involved. Stress leads to forgetfulness, forgetfulness leads to anger, and anger leads to wine-fueled fights with your mother-in-law. Luckily, here are quick solutions to fix whatever Turkey Day gaps plague you, so you can avoid the trauma and drama.

You Forgot About the Appetizer

Sure, it would be great if you had remembered to buy endive and lovingly spoon little mounds of chevre into each tender leaf, but endive didn’t make it on the shopping list, and now you have nothing for your guests to nosh on while you wrap up the main meal. You could send your nephew to the store for a sad veggie tray, or you could use this opportunity to clean out your cabinet and fridge.

First, check your pantry for a can of beans, any beans, and whip up an easy dip. Besides beans, you’ll just need a little olive oil (a couple of tablespoons), some salt and pepper, and then one thing from each of the following categories:.

  • A Tablespoon of Something Creamy: Any kind of nut butter or creamy dairy product will work here, so reach for that last bit of sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, or even that forgotten chunk of brie.
  • A Flavorful Pinch or Drizzle: Ginger and garlic are good options, but don’t be afraid to raid the fridge for flavorful one-offs, like miso, harissa, fish sauce, chilies, Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, or even tin fish like anchovies or sardines.
  • Some Acid: The juice and zest of half a lemon or lime should get you there, but you could also try a teaspoon or two of your favorite vinegar, or even some mustard, pickle brine, or juice from a jar of banana peppers.
  • A Little Bit of Something Sweet: Any kind of syrupy sweetness you have on hand will work, be it agave, honey, or maple, but there’s nothing wrong with using a little white table sugar or brown sugar.
  • Some Sort of Topping: You could grab whatever herbs you have leftover from other Thanksgiving recipes, or add some chopped nuts or potato chips for tasty texture.

Just blend it all together, top with your garnish, and serve in a bowl with what extra veggies or crunchy carbs you have on hand. (Send someone to the gas station for chips if you have to.)

Next, if you have any extra greens or vegetable tops lying around, go ahead and turn those into a pesto using a ratio of 1:2:2:8 (1 part nuts, 2 parts oil, 2 parts grating cheese, 8 parts leaves or herbs), plus garlic, lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Carrot tops, random herbs, kale, spinach, and arugula can all be blitzed into this flavorful spread, and you can even use a mixture of all of the above.

Just take a couple cloves of garlic and give those a good chop using the pulse function on your food processor. Add two cups of green stuff, ½ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of whatever nuts you have in your home, and pulse until smooth. Add a ½ cup of hard, grated cheese, squeeze in half a lemon, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as needed.

Finally, do not underestimate the power of ramen dip. Just grab a packet of the super salty flavor packet (any flavor except that weird cheese one) and stir into a tub of sour cream. (Top with scallions to dress it up.) Serve with chips and watch it get devoured.

Beyond dips, a lot can be accomplished with a pack of bacon. In fact, a whole slew of bacon-based appetizers can be assembled with only one or two other ingredients:

  • Bacon + Club Crackers + Parmesan: This is an old faithful recipe of mine by way of The Pioneer Woman. Simply top a buttery Club cracker with a teaspoon of grated parm, wrap half a piece of bacon around it, and repeat until you’ve gone through a whole sleeve. Bake at 250℉ for two hours.
  • Bacon + Brown Sugar: Toss bacon slices with brown sugar, lay them in a single layer on a parchment-covered baking sheet, top with another layer of parchment and place a baking sheet on top of the whole situation. Bake at 325℉ until crispy, about 20-35 minutes.
  • Bacon + Asparagus: Wrap a slice of bacon around a stalk of asparagus and bake at 400℉ for about half an hour.
  • Bacon + Pepper + Cream Cheese: Make a slit in a jalapeno or serrano (warning: these are spicy) and remove the insides. Stuff with cream cheese, wrap with bacon, and bake at 375℉ for about half an hour, until bacon is crispy.

That should take care of the snacks, or you can just do what my family does and buy a giant, plastic tub of aggressively orange cheese balls. That’s never a bad plan.

You Forgot to Buy Enough Booze

Maybe you don’t consider booze to be a necessary Thanksgiving supply, but I’d rather run out of pie than run out of wine. If you somehow underestimated the ethanolic needs of your guest list, don’t panic, you have a few options.

First, check out your liquor cabinet and see what kind of hard stuff you have lying around. You can make a quick punch out of almost anything, as long as you have something strong (liquor), something sweet (juice), and something sparkling (can be alcoholic or not). Feel free to play around with this to fit your palate, but I like a ratio of 1 bottle (750 mL) of booze:1 bottle sparkling wine:6 cups juice. If that’s a little strong for your taste, consider swapping out the champers for ginger ale or Sprite. Some combinations to get you going:

  • Grapefruit Gin Punch: Ruby Red grapefruit juice + Gin + Off-dry sparkling wine
  • Festive Cranberry Punch: Cranberry cocktail + Vodka + Prosecco
  • Rum Punch: Peach orange mango juice + Rum + Cava
  • Communion Punch: Welch’s grape juice + It doesn’t matter + maybe don’t actually do this
  • Beer Shandy Punch: Lemonade + Bourbon + Lager

If you don’t have time for even that, just send someone to go pick up a few cheap bottles of wine. Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Costco are all good resources with knowledgeable staff that will help you get the most bang for your buck. (Depending on which state you live in, you may not even need a Costco membership to buy wine there.)

You Forgot About the Non-Dinner Guest

Beyond the main meal, it’s likely you’ll have visiting friends and family pop by sometime over the holiday weekend for coffee or cocktails. To make sure you have something to serve besides leftovers, hit the freezer aisle and stock up on these winners.

You can never have too much pie and, if you’re running low on pumpkin, you can always grab a Marie Callender’s Pumpkin Pie ($6.49)—for that classic pumpkin pie experience—or an Edwards Pumpkin Crème Pie ($6.49)—for something a bit untraditional, but very tasty. Both were ranked as some of the best frozen options by The Kitchn, and both can be found at nearly any grocery store.

But frozen pie isn’t the only chilly superhero, if you want to serve something that is just as easy but a little more high-falutin’, grab some frozen puff pastry. Puff pastry is a dough that can do both (sweet and savory) so grab some sheets and make one or more of the following delectable bites:

  • Super Easy Plum Tart: Cut pastry into squares and prick with a fork. Fan out some pretty plum slices and sprinkle with sugar and freshly ground pepper. Bake for about half an hour at 425℉ until golden brown, and drizzle with honey before serving.
  • Make a “Croffle”: Place puff pastry in your waffle iron and crisp it up. Serve with Nutella and strawberries.
  • Savory Cheese Straws: Mix a cup of grated parmesan, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a teaspoon of paprika together in a bowl. Cut puff pastry into strips and twist to form straws. Brush straws with egg wash and dredge through cheese mixture to coat and bake for about ten minutes at 425℉ until golden brown.

If the holiday has left you too tired to cook, just put a pot of coffee on and set out some sweet, seasonal liqueurs like peppermint mocha Kahlua, Frangelico, or Bailey’s. No one will be angry about that.

You Forgot to Make Name Cards or a Centerpiece

No one has ever said “You know, that was a nice dinner, and the turkey was superb, but I just can’t get over the lack of festive name cards and/or centerpiece.” No one has ever said that because no one gives a damn about tablescaping, which means you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. If, however, you want to give your guests a conversation jumping off point, consider printing out these festive Thanksgiving Mad Libs.

This will hopefully stimulate pleasant, non-political conversation at the dinner table. If that doesn’t work, scroll back up to section two of this article and pick a punch. (Communion punch is your nuclear option.)

Illustration by Sam Woolley. Photos by Didriks, Isaac Wedin, and Iris.

A Last-Minute Thanksgiving Guide to Everything You Forgot

Hosting Thanksgiving can be fun, but there’ll always be stress involved. Stress leads to forgetfulness, forgetfulness leads to anger, and anger leads to wine-fueled fights with your mother-in-law. Luckily, here are quick solutions to fix whatever Turkey Day gaps plague you, so you can avoid the trauma and drama.

You Forgot About the Appetizer

Sure, it would be great if you had remembered to buy endive and lovingly spoon little mounds of chevre into each tender leaf, but endive didn’t make it on the shopping list, and now you have nothing for your guests to nosh on while you wrap up the main meal. You could send your nephew to the store for a sad veggie tray, or you could use this opportunity to clean out your cabinet and fridge.

First, check your pantry for a can of beans, any beans, and whip up an easy dip. Besides beans, you’ll just need a little olive oil (a couple of tablespoons), some salt and pepper, and then one thing from each of the following categories:.

  • A Tablespoon of Something Creamy: Any kind of nut butter or creamy dairy product will work here, so reach for that last bit of sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, or even that forgotten chunk of brie.
  • A Flavorful Pinch or Drizzle: Ginger and garlic are good options, but don’t be afraid to raid the fridge for flavorful one-offs, like miso, harissa, fish sauce, chilies, Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, or even tin fish like anchovies or sardines.
  • Some Acid: The juice and zest of half a lemon or lime should get you there, but you could also try a teaspoon or two of your favorite vinegar, or even some mustard, pickle brine, or juice from a jar of banana peppers.
  • A Little Bit of Something Sweet: Any kind of syrupy sweetness you have on hand will work, be it agave, honey, or maple, but there’s nothing wrong with using a little white table sugar or brown sugar.
  • Some Sort of Topping: You could grab whatever herbs you have leftover from other Thanksgiving recipes, or add some chopped nuts or potato chips for tasty texture.

Just blend it all together, top with your garnish, and serve in a bowl with what extra veggies or crunchy carbs you have on hand. (Send someone to the gas station for chips if you have to.)

Next, if you have any extra greens or vegetable tops lying around, go ahead and turn those into a pesto using a ratio of 1:2:2:8 (1 part nuts, 2 parts oil, 2 parts grating cheese, 8 parts leaves or herbs), plus garlic, lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Carrot tops, random herbs, kale, spinach, and arugula can all be blitzed into this flavorful spread, and you can even use a mixture of all of the above.

Just take a couple cloves of garlic and give those a good chop using the pulse function on your food processor. Add two cups of green stuff, ½ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of whatever nuts you have in your home, and pulse until smooth. Add a ½ cup of hard, grated cheese, squeeze in half a lemon, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as needed.

Finally, do not underestimate the power of ramen dip. Just grab a packet of the super salty flavor packet (any flavor except that weird cheese one) and stir into a tub of sour cream. (Top with scallions to dress it up.) Serve with chips and watch it get devoured.

Beyond dips, a lot can be accomplished with a pack of bacon. In fact, a whole slew of bacon-based appetizers can be assembled with only one or two other ingredients:

  • Bacon + Club Crackers + Parmesan: This is an old faithful recipe of mine by way of The Pioneer Woman. Simply top a buttery Club cracker with a teaspoon of grated parm, wrap half a piece of bacon around it, and repeat until you’ve gone through a whole sleeve. Bake at 250℉ for two hours.
  • Bacon + Brown Sugar: Toss bacon slices with brown sugar, lay them in a single layer on a parchment-covered baking sheet, top with another layer of parchment and place a baking sheet on top of the whole situation. Bake at 325℉ until crispy, about 20-35 minutes.
  • Bacon + Asparagus: Wrap a slice of bacon around a stalk of asparagus and bake at 400℉ for about half an hour.
  • Bacon + Pepper + Cream Cheese: Make a slit in a jalapeno or serrano (warning: these are spicy) and remove the insides. Stuff with cream cheese, wrap with bacon, and bake at 375℉ for about half an hour, until bacon is crispy.

That should take care of the snacks, or you can just do what my family does and buy a giant, plastic tub of aggressively orange cheese balls. That’s never a bad plan.

You Forgot to Buy Enough Booze

Maybe you don’t consider booze to be a necessary Thanksgiving supply, but I’d rather run out of pie than run out of wine. If you somehow underestimated the ethanolic needs of your guest list, don’t panic, you have a few options.

First, check out your liquor cabinet and see what kind of hard stuff you have lying around. You can make a quick punch out of almost anything, as long as you have something strong (liquor), something sweet (juice), and something sparkling (can be alcoholic or not). Feel free to play around with this to fit your palate, but I like a ratio of 1 bottle (750 mL) of booze:1 bottle sparkling wine:6 cups juice. If that’s a little strong for your taste, consider swapping out the champers for ginger ale or Sprite. Some combinations to get you going:

  • Grapefruit Gin Punch: Ruby Red grapefruit juice + Gin + Off-dry sparkling wine
  • Festive Cranberry Punch: Cranberry cocktail + Vodka + Prosecco
  • Rum Punch: Peach orange mango juice + Rum + Cava
  • Communion Punch: Welch’s grape juice + It doesn’t matter + maybe don’t actually do this
  • Beer Shandy Punch: Lemonade + Bourbon + Lager

If you don’t have time for even that, just send someone to go pick up a few cheap bottles of wine. Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Costco are all good resources with knowledgeable staff that will help you get the most bang for your buck. (Depending on which state you live in, you may not even need a Costco membership to buy wine there.)

You Forgot About the Non-Dinner Guest

Beyond the main meal, it’s likely you’ll have visiting friends and family pop by sometime over the holiday weekend for coffee or cocktails. To make sure you have something to serve besides leftovers, hit the freezer aisle and stock up on these winners.

You can never have too much pie and, if you’re running low on pumpkin, you can always grab a Marie Callender’s Pumpkin Pie ($6.49)—for that classic pumpkin pie experience—or an Edwards Pumpkin Crème Pie ($6.49)—for something a bit untraditional, but very tasty. Both were ranked as some of the best frozen options by The Kitchn, and both can be found at nearly any grocery store.

But frozen pie isn’t the only chilly superhero, if you want to serve something that is just as easy but a little more high-falutin’, grab some frozen puff pastry. Puff pastry is a dough that can do both (sweet and savory) so grab some sheets and make one or more of the following delectable bites:

  • Super Easy Plum Tart: Cut pastry into squares and prick with a fork. Fan out some pretty plum slices and sprinkle with sugar and freshly ground pepper. Bake for about half an hour at 425℉ until golden brown, and drizzle with honey before serving.
  • Make a “Croffle”: Place puff pastry in your waffle iron and crisp it up. Serve with Nutella and strawberries.
  • Savory Cheese Straws: Mix a cup of grated parmesan, a teaspoon of garlic powder, and a teaspoon of paprika together in a bowl. Cut puff pastry into strips and twist to form straws. Brush straws with egg wash and dredge through cheese mixture to coat and bake for about ten minutes at 425℉ until golden brown.

If the holiday has left you too tired to cook, just put a pot of coffee on and set out some sweet, seasonal liqueurs like peppermint mocha Kahlua, Frangelico, or Bailey’s. No one will be angry about that.

You Forgot to Make Name Cards or a Centerpiece

No one has ever said “You know, that was a nice dinner, and the turkey was superb, but I just can’t get over the lack of festive name cards and/or centerpiece.” No one has ever said that because no one gives a damn about tablescaping, which means you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. If, however, you want to give your guests a conversation jumping off point, consider printing out these festive Thanksgiving Mad Libs.

This will hopefully stimulate pleasant, non-political conversation at the dinner table. If that doesn’t work, scroll back up to section two of this article and pick a punch. (Communion punch is your nuclear option.)

Illustration by Sam Woolley. Photos by Didriks, Isaac Wedin, and Iris.

You Can Now Text the Butterball Turkey Help Hotline

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line has been guiding helpless cooks to better turkeys for over 30 years. Now, if you don’t feel like calling, you can get your turkey questions answered via SMS text message for the first time ever.

For the novice cook, whole roasted turkey is a bit of a challenge. That’s what the experts at Butterball’s hotline are for. They can tell you everything from when you should defrost your bird to how you should cook it if you’re short on time. They’ve seen it all and heard it all when it comes to turkey questions, but now they can read it all too. If you’re need of some free turkey advice, you can text them at 1-800-Butterball until end of Thanksgiving night. You can learn more at the link below.

Update: Whoops! Look like we’ve shared this news already. Still, it’s a good reminder for this week! If you need turkey advice, you know who to text.

Turkey Talk-Line | Butterball via The Kitchn

Photo by Ruocaled.

Give the Gift of Better Cooking and Eating With These Kitchen Tools

The Holidays are fast approaching, which means you need to get to shopping. If someone on your list is serious about cooking, drinking, and eating, we have the perfect tools and toys to make their kitchen a happier, tastier place.

A Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

I may be a bit biased when it comes to this particular method of cooking, but there is no denying that an immersion circulator will seriously up your game in certain culinary undertakings. Meat, seafood, creamy desserts, and eggs all come out consistently perfect when cooked this way, and an immersion circulator is also a great tool for infusing your way to bespoke oils, vinegar, and booze.

There are two great models out there for the home cook: the Anova Precision Cooker ($149-$199) and ChefSteps’ Joule ($199). Both make great tasting food, but there are some differences in form and function, so check out our sous-vide showdown to pick the right one for yourself (or your very lucky giftee).

Herb Scissors

Chopping chives and other herbs into tiny pieces can be a huge pain, but these stainless steel herb scissors from Jenaluca ($12) cut down your work by a factor of five, and produce consistently-cut little bits of delicious “herbal confetti,” ready to be stirred into soups, stews, pasta, or used as a beautiful garnish.

Oven Pull

Maybe you are a much smoother operator than I, but I cannot tell you how many times I have burned the top of my hand trying to pull something out of the oven. This heat-resistant, happy-looking, silicone oven pull form Joie ($5) lets you drag hot dishes and pans (or even the rack itself) from the deepest depths of your oven, preventing bodily harm by way of burns. (It would also look super cute sticking out of a stocking.)

Silicone Scrape and Scoop

No amount of Nutella should ever be thrown out with its jar, and the Tovolo Scoop & Spread Multi-Purpose Spreader ($6) ensures you get every little bit. In addition to making sure there is no spread left behind, this silicone spreader distributes soft cheeses in a manner that is most pleasant.

Nibble Cake Tasting Pan

How many times have you baked a cake for a function, decorated it, and then waited with bated breath, unsure of how it tasted, until it was served? The Quirky Nibble Cake Pan ($41), which comes with its own little mini-me built right in, eliminates your did-this-actually-turn-out-okay anxiety by letting you literally have your cake and eat it too.

Hands Free Bag Holder

Whether it’s for sous-vide or food-storage reasons, I put a lot of things in plastic bags. I only have two hands, and sometimes I need both of those things to pour, scrape, or otherwise transfer food from its original receptacle to said bag. This neat little rack clip from Jokari ($10) makes the whole process a lot easier by holding sandwich, freezer, and other resealable bags open and stable, preventing spills, slips, and other messes.

Reusable Food Huggers

Resealable bags have their time and place, but storing every little odd and end in a plastic bag can really add up, waste-wise. These washable, silicone Food Huggers ($10), fit around all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and can be used to cover the tops of jars, wide-mouth bottles, and bowls of food, eliminating the need for plastic wrap. They’re also dishwasher safe, which is nice, because washing things by hand is a drag, man.

Thermopop Thermometer

Everyone, and I mean everyone, should have a kitchen thermometer, and you can’t beat the super-fast, splash-proof, seriously reasonably priced ThermoWorks ThermoPop, which can be found for a mere $29 on their website. Not only is it extremely responsive—it gives you a reading in about five seconds—but the digital display rotates with the click of a button, letting you read your accurate temperature from any angle, and any hand.

Heat Conducting Knife

I keep my butter out on the counter, but it can still be a little tough to spread in the colder months. The Spread That Butter Knife ($20) uses your body heat to warm the butter, while the serrated edge scrapes it into super-spreadable ribbons, making your morning toast just a little more attainable.

Jigger Bottle Stoppers

These cute little jiggers ($19.99 for four) will make you feel equal parts mixologist and scientist, with demarcations in both ounces and milliliters. These multi-functional stoppers are also very unlikely to get lost, as they live right on top of your booze, streamlining your at-home cocktail making.

Monthly Spice Subscription

Playing around with new spices and flavors is a lot of fun, but buying a whole bunch of a spice you’re unfamiliar with can be intimidating (and expensive). Raw Spice Bar’s Spice of the Month Club ($6 per month and up) introduces you to exciting new seasonings with just a enough spice to get you going (or flowing) and delicious recipes that make sure your getting the most flavorful bang for your buck.

Hydro Flask

You should all probably be drinking more water, and the best way to do that is to ensure you have water with you at all times. Cold water is more enjoyable than warm water (at least for me) and the double-insulated, stainless steel Hydro Flask will keep your beverage cold for up to 24 hours, and it comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors (starting at $22). If you don’t want to drink more water, that’s fine too, you can always fill your Hydroflask with booze. I recommend gin.

Immersion Blender

I’ve mentioned it before, but my stick blender is the underrated workhorse of my kitchen. Not only is it portable, light, and easy to operate and clean. It makes great shakes, smoothies, aioli, sauces, and spreads, and it is indispensable in making creamy soups.

Some super-fancy models can cost up to 100 bucks, but I love my two-speed Cuisinart, which can be found for as little as thirty dollars on Amazon.

Poach Sausages Before Grilling for Perfect Char and Juicy Meat

Poach Sausages Before Grilling for Perfect Char and Juicy Meat

Grilling meat like sausages can be tricky—you want that delicious caramelization on the outside, but still want juicy, succulent meat inside. The Kitchn has a simple solution: poach your sausages before throwing them on the grill. It’s key to keeping them juicy and getting a perfect char every time.

If you want to make it easier to put the sausages on the grill after poaching, or don’t want to have to keep an eye on both the stove and your grill, you can poach the sausages directly on the grill. By poaching the sausages before grilling, you cook them through just a bit, which means you can pull them off the grill when they’re perfect on the outside rather than waiting for the inside to finish cooking. This also means they won’t have to sit on the grill as long, so the inside will retain more moisture and be juicier.

A Smart Tip for Good Grilled Sausages | The Kitchn

Image from philandpam.

J. Kenji López-Alt’s Method for Making a Perfectly Crispy Fried Egg

There are a lot of ways to cook up some great eggs, but a truly crispy fried egg is a whole different beast. Here’s chef J. Kenji López-Alt’s method for making a fried egg that perfectly balances crispy egg whites with a creamy yolk.

López-Alt of Serious Eats suggests if you want a fluffy, delicate egg, just poach it instead. If you want a real fried egg, López-Alt demonstrates his favorite technique in the video above from his YouTube channel. Add to two to three tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil to a non-stick skillet, and heat the oil on medium-high heat until it’s shimmering. Swirl the pan to distribute the oil, carefully add the egg, and season with salt and pepper. The egg white should be bubbling in the hot oil. Now tilt the pan so the oil collects at the bottom, then spoon the hot oil over the top of the egg whites. Remove the crispy egg from the pan with a wood spatula and serve. It will be cratered, bubbly, and actually taste fried.

http://lifehacker.com/im-j-kenji-lop…

How to Fry an Egg (the extra-crispy method) | YouTube via Serious Eats

Four Tips for Building Better Salads at the Salad Bar

With the potential combinations a salad bar provides, you can get carried away and end up with a soggy, mish-mash of ingredients. These tips will help you build a more balanced salad, both in flavor and in texture.

In this video from the “Stop Doing It Wrong” series on the ZAGAT YouTube channel, you’ll learn some simple rules of thumb for making better salads from Tony Shure and Colin McCabe, the co-founders of Chopt in New York City. Here’s what they suggest:

  1. Don’t use wet lettuce: Salad dressing doesn’t stick to it very well. Dry those wet leafy greens off with a paper towel first if possible.
  2. Pick a theme and stick to it: Don’t fall prey to “salad bar syndrome” and add every single thing you like to your salad just because it’s good on its own. Find a focus.
  3. Don’t overload on soft ingredients: Make sure your salad has equal parts soft and crunchy ingredients.
  4. Underdress your salad: It’s always better to underdress your salad and have some extra dressing on the side than to overdress your salad and ruin it.

Beyond that, Shure and McCabe recommend you give your salads great texture, color, bold flavors, a little acid, cold dressing, some crunch, and to always use the best ingredients possible.

How to Make the Best Salad | YouTube

Four Tips for Building Better Salads at the Salad Bar

With the potential combinations a salad bar provides, you can get carried away and end up with a soggy, mish-mash of ingredients. These tips will help you build a more balanced salad, both in flavor and in texture.

In this video from the “Stop Doing It Wrong” series on the ZAGAT YouTube channel, you’ll learn some simple rules of thumb for making better salads from Tony Shure and Colin McCabe, the co-founders of Chopt in New York City. Here’s what they suggest:

  1. Don’t use wet lettuce: Salad dressing doesn’t stick to it very well. Dry those wet leafy greens off with a paper towel first if possible.
  2. Pick a theme and stick to it: Don’t fall prey to “salad bar syndrome” and add every single thing you like to your salad just because it’s good on its own. Find a focus.
  3. Don’t overload on soft ingredients: Make sure your salad has equal parts soft and crunchy ingredients.
  4. Underdress your salad: It’s always better to underdress your salad and have some extra dressing on the side than to overdress your salad and ruin it.

Beyond that, Shure and McCabe recommend you give your salads great texture, color, bold flavors, a little acid, cold dressing, some crunch, and to always use the best ingredients possible.

How to Make the Best Salad | YouTube

Four Tips for Building Better Salads at the Salad Bar

With the potential combinations a salad bar provides, you can get carried away and end up with a soggy, mish-mash of ingredients. These tips will help you build a more balanced salad, both in flavor and in texture.

In this video from the “Stop Doing It Wrong” series on the ZAGAT YouTube channel, you’ll learn some simple rules of thumb for making better salads from Tony Shure and Colin McCabe, the co-founders of Chopt in New York City. Here’s what they suggest:

  1. Don’t use wet lettuce: Salad dressing doesn’t stick to it very well. Dry those wet leafy greens off with a paper towel first if possible.
  2. Pick a theme and stick to it: Don’t fall prey to “salad bar syndrome” and add every single thing you like to your salad just because it’s good on its own. Find a focus.
  3. Don’t overload on soft ingredients: Make sure your salad has equal parts soft and crunchy ingredients.
  4. Underdress your salad: It’s always better to underdress your salad and have some extra dressing on the side than to overdress your salad and ruin it.

Beyond that, Shure and McCabe recommend you give your salads great texture, color, bold flavors, a little acid, cold dressing, some crunch, and to always use the best ingredients possible.

How to Make the Best Salad | YouTube

Four Tips for Building Better Salads at the Salad Bar

With the potential combinations a salad bar provides, you can get carried away and end up with a soggy, mish-mash of ingredients. These tips will help you build a more balanced salad, both in flavor and in texture.

In this video from the “Stop Doing It Wrong” series on the ZAGAT YouTube channel, you’ll learn some simple rules of thumb for making better salads from Tony Shure and Colin McCabe, the co-founders of Chopt in New York City. Here’s what they suggest:

  1. Don’t use wet lettuce: Salad dressing doesn’t stick to it very well. Dry those wet leafy greens off with a paper towel first if possible.
  2. Pick a theme and stick to it: Don’t fall prey to “salad bar syndrome” and add every single thing you like to your salad just because it’s good on its own. Find a focus.
  3. Don’t overload on soft ingredients: Make sure your salad has equal parts soft and crunchy ingredients.
  4. Underdress your salad: It’s always better to underdress your salad and have some extra dressing on the side than to overdress your salad and ruin it.

Beyond that, Shure and McCabe recommend you give your salads great texture, color, bold flavors, a little acid, cold dressing, some crunch, and to always use the best ingredients possible.

How to Make the Best Salad | YouTube