Know Your Onions: Scallions, Shallots, and Leeks

For years, I had the following problem: I would glance at the title of a recipe, read the word “scallion” and think, “Nope, seafood. Too complicated.” While I’ll acknowledge that I was holding onto a misconception about seafood in general, it is also true that a scallion is an onion, no matter how much it sounds like the word “scallop.” For that matter, a shallot is also a type of seafood-sounding onion, and since “leek”

Cooking Off-Script: Part III

Last week I chronicled my exploits in grocery shopping and meal planning, hoping to unearth a few guidelines for those seeking a balance between sticking to a budget versus sticking to a list. This week, after taking a few extra days to think about it, I’d like to present some conclusions. (You can find the first two installments in this series here and here.) To recap from Part I, here is the problem I’ve been

Cooking Off-Script: Part II

It’s Thursday night, and our household is four full days into our grocery challenge. To recap from Sunday’s post, this week’s goal is to eat more meals at home while spending less money and without purchasing the cheaper “filler” foods such as pasta and rice and that would normally make this possible. The larger goal within the context of this blog is to attempt to define the balance, as a new cook, between making a

Cooking Off-Script: Part I

Tonight, I went to the grocery store. It was a very different experience than usual, so I’ve decided to use it as the starting point for a series I’ve been toying with for a while. But first, a word of explanation: The hardest part about learning to cook might be shopping for it. Chefs talk about “being inspired by ingredients,” but for a neophyte cook that sounds like a pipe dream. So what if I

Easier Than It Looks: Poached Eggs

A perfectly-poached egg is a kind of delicacy. You can place it on top of a piece of toast, next to a pile of roasted asparagus, or even at the bottom of a bowl of creamy soup.* Poached eggs are cooked on the outside but still gooey on the inside, and when you slice into them the yolk spills out in a glorious pool. You can find poached eggs in all sorts of fancy restaurants

What to Keep in Your Freezer

If my fridge has at times been the place where leftovers go to die, my freezer is a crypt of good intentions. Meat that languished in my fridge until the sell-by date? Into the freezer! Herbs that sprouted too abundantly on my porch? Freezer. Cookies I was too tempted to eat right away? You guessed it, although the cookies are now almost gone. The truth is that if you don’t have a freestanding deep-freeze, your

Emergency Meals: Stovetop Popcorn

I get it: popcorn isn’t a meal, it’s a snack. But in a pinch, it’s filling, fast, cheap, and healthier than its prepackaged alternative. It’s also a great emergency stand-in when you’re hosting movie or game night. Bottom line: before you settle down to watch Alabama beat the cleats off Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship next Monday, give this a shot. If you’re a Georgia fan, which appears to be anyone who

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