Log in to  your Cookthink account !

Give us the email address you used to sign up with to Cookthink!

close

what about one of these?

Thumb_3180636350_5386d96b77What does it mean to cream butter and sugar?

Thumb_3180636350_5386d96b77What does it mean to cream butter and sugar?

When a recipe tells you to cream butter and sugar, it means that you should beat the two ingredients -- with a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease or an electric mixer -- until they form a light, uniform and creamy mixture. Once sugar and butter are properly creamed, the sugar crystals will have dissolved, resulting in a smooth texture.  

Thumb_2457814638_9e1ccfb339Root Source: Bourbon

Thumb_2457814638_9e1ccfb339Root Source: Bourbon

what you should know All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. "Whiskey" is produced all over the world and can be made with a number of grains, notably barley, rye and corn. To be called "bourbon," a whiskey must be made in the United States, and its mash must be at least 51% corn. Then, the resulting liquid must be aged for two years in charred new oak containers. After that, it's "bourbon." you don't know jack Jack Daniels? George Dickel? They're not bourbons. Since they're filtered through maple charcoal (using a method known as the Lincoln County Process), they're labeled "Tennessee Whiskey." spiritual center Not all bourbon is made in Kentucky, but most of it is. The town of Bardstown is the Bourbon Capital of the World. There you'll find, among other bourbon-related attractions, the Museum of Whiskey History. and they're off Lots of contenders in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. (We're going for a Monba-Big Brown-Recapture the Glory trifecta.) Even if you don't care for the ponies, be sure to tune in just to see the world's largest mint julep, which will be on display this weekend at Churchill Downs. what you need While there are many Parker-esque buying guides available to help you choose the right whiskey, our favorite source is Chuck Cowdery, the Mike Royko of bourbon. His classic book Bourbon Straight begins: "It is February, 1621. The Mayflower colonists are panicked because they are running out of beer." Chuck also writes about bourbon (and Blues and politics) at his blog, where he recently declared that "the best bourbon is free bourbon." Depending on your poison, you might be interested in the history of Jack, Jim or Pappy. While a faceted lowball glass feels right for a liquid lunch, we prefer a heavy-bottomed, smooth old fashioned glass. Do you collect silver julep cups? Keep these tips in mind when shopping. what you do In her excellent new book, Bon Appétit, Y'all, Virginia Willis reinterprets the traditional honey baked ham by adding bourbon to the glaze. If you want some really solid ribs in just a few hours, try Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan's first-timer's ribs. Buttery maple-bourbon sauce pools in the curves of grilled acorn squash. A simple bourbon-infused whipped cream adds complexity to Steamy Kitchen's easy apple tart (and any other simple dessert). If a Mint Julep is too bourbon-y for you, try an Old Fashioned or a Rebel Yell. featured recipe Bourbon loves sweet potatoes, and we love these bourbon-glazed sweet potato tarts. The recipe came from Stephanie of Adventures in Shaw.

Thumb_3180418102_5ebae180feWhat is nutmeg?

Thumb_3180418102_5ebae180feWhat is nutmeg?

The nutmeg that we use in the kitchen is the inner nut or seed of the nutmeg fruit. The evergreen tree that produces the fruit is native to southern Asia and parts of the south Pacific. It produces both nutmeg and mace. Here's how it happens: when the nutmeg fruit is ripe, it splits open to reveal mace-covered seed. The red or orange mace is removed and dried. The seed is then dried for a couple of months, until the nutmeg can be heard rattling around inside the shell. The seed is then cracked to produce the small egg-shaped nutmeg. Whole nutmegs will keep for months if properly stored in a cool, dark cupboard. How do nutmeg and mace compare? Nutmeg has a stronger, more rounded flavor than mace, which is often likened to both cinnamon and pepper. In a pinch, you can substitute one for the other.

Thumb_3180419234_e1e2d531e5How to store nutmeg

Thumb_3180419234_e1e2d531e5How to store nutmeg

If you have the option, choose whole nutmeg over ground. Store the nutmeg in an air-tight container in a dark cupboard at room temperature. Heat, moisture and light will speed up the deterioration of the volatile oils that give nutmeg its distinctive flavor. When properly stored, nutmeg will be keep for at least a year.

Thumb_3180417662_e13053416dWhat can I substitute for nutmeg?

Thumb_3180417662_e13053416dWhat can I substitute for nutmeg?

The best substitute for nutmeg is mace, the red membrane that surrounds nutmeg when harvested. Though it's a bit more delicate in flavor and lacks nutmeg's bittersweetness, mace will work in a pinch. Cinnamon is brighter, sweeter and less woodsy than nutmeg, but it fills in nicely in smaller amounts. Allspice and garam masala are both reminiscent of several spices, and will also work in place of nutmeg in small amounts.

Thumb_3180418426_1cedcabb61How to prep nutmeg

Thumb_3180418426_1cedcabb61How to prep nutmeg

Nutmeg is best when it's freshly grated. We prefer to use a microplane zester (like one of the ones shown above) to prep nutmeg. (There are all sorts of fine graters available for use with nutmeg; some of them are even designed specifically for that use.) To prep nutmeg, simply rub the nut over the grater (being careful to keep your fingers away from the grater) into a small bowl. The outer skin is not as flavorful as the oily interior that it protects, but the outside grates easily and is fine to include.

Thumb_3179581803_7a94f4733dWhat's the difference between cinnamon and nutmeg?

Thumb_3179581803_7a94f4733dWhat's the difference between cinnamon and nutmeg?

Nutmeg is the seed of a fruit and cinnamon is made from the bark of a tree. When purchased whole, both are easily identifiable as such. When ground, nutmeg is a speckled brown, coarse-grained powder, while cinnamon is usually finer in texture and a brighter rust color. In terms of flavor, nutmeg is warm, aromatic and deeply woodsy with flavors of camphor and clove. Nutmeg often gives a subtle background lift to rich dishes like gratins and other rich, creamy dishes. Cinnamon, while similarly aromatic with hints of clove, is more floral and sweeter than nutmeg. It has a brighter almost citrusy tinge. Cinnamon tends to stand out more than nutmeg in both sweet and savory dishes.

Thumb_3173689473_f8f981c138How to choose nutmeg

Thumb_3173689473_f8f981c138How to choose nutmeg

The choice between ground nutmeg and whole nutmeg is an easy one: always go with the whole nut and freshly grate it as needed. Ground nutmeg may smell and taste great the first time, but once the container is opened, the quality will start to deteriorate as the spice's volatile oils are exposed to oxygen. Whole nutmeg won't last forever, but properly stored you can squeeze a good year out of it with no noticeable loss of flavor.