Basics, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Tools

Tools 101: Mezzaluna

You have new kitchen toys, hooray! Now, what the heck do you do with them?

This series features some ideas to get you cooking – and eating – asap!

Now: to the chopping block!

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Meet your mezzaluna

Italian for “half-moon,” this tool gives new meaning to chopped salads. Using a smooth rocking motion, effortlessly chop large amounts of lettuce, veggies & herbs all in one bowl for an easy and even chopped salad.

What’s it for?

  • Makes mincing piles of herbs a breeze
  • Can be used for chopping nuts or chocolate for baking
  • Allows for even chopping
  • Works well as a pizza cutter

How to clean

Use a soft sponge with warm soap and water. Dry with a clean dish towel or air dry. Do not put in the dishwasher.

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Tips

Make one or two big salads for this week’s lunches & dinners! It’s an easy way to make sure you have veggies this week.

IMG_0853Happy eating!

Get cooking! Use offer code “BACK2COOKING” for 10% off your first month!

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Box 3, Cooking, Food, recipes, Tools

Tools 101: Silicone Baking Mat

You have new kitchen toys, hooray! Now, what the heck do you do with them?

This series features some ideas to get you cooking – and eating – asap!

Meet your silicone mat

This mat is a super handy alternative to parchment paper, perfect for baking and roasting. While you can use oil as well, the mat does its part in helping food not stick so you don’t need as much oil. Trust us, nothing sticks to these mats.

Here are some ways to use it!

Recipes

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Get crunching with this addictive snack. Spice it up with cayenne or keep it simple with sea salt. Either way, so good!
Get the recipe.

Roasted Salmon

The easiest, tastiest weeknight meal. You can adjust based on what you like on your salmon! Lemon and herbs is always a good bet.
Get the recipe.

Roasted Cauliflower

Perfect to have around to add to salads, bowls and more throughout the week! Also delicious simply seasoned with salt & pepper.
Get the recipe.

Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies

From kale chips to cookies! We never said you couldn’t treat yourself! The mat allows easy clean up because the dough won’t stick.
Get the recipe.

How to clean

Use a soft sponge with warm soap and water. Dry with a clean dish towel or air dry.

Tips

  • Limit the amount of oil you use for your recipes; you really don’t need much! A great way to cut back on your oil intake. Instead, keep your olive oil bottle on the table for dipping bread.
  • If you do use parchment paper, make sure it’s parchment, and not wax paper. Wax coating will melt and can burn in a hot oven.

More info on Food52

Happy eating!

Basics, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Grilling, recipes, Tools

You Can Grill That!

Let your grill do wonders beyond burgers and dogs.

These are easy grilled foods for a party – or just for you! Not only does the grill work its magic in these recipes, but cleanup is super easy too so you can relax and enjoy.

Tip: Keep all your essential grilling tools (tongs, squeeze bottles, pastry brush, etc.) clean and handy for when the grill calls your name!

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  1. Pizza
    Perfect for al fresco summer dining, especially for groups, warm grilled pizza can be equally good and often better than a sad, soggy delivery pizza. That char really works wonders, and it’s super simple! Consider making a veggie one with no cheese for vegan/dairy-free friends and as a nice lighter option for everyone. Pair with a light red (chill it if you want!) or Lambrusco. The pizza can sit out for a bit, as long as it’s not boiling hot outside, so those who arrive late can still enjoy a piece (if there’s any left!) Use your sharpened knife or kitchen shears to slice it!
    Get the recipe.
  2. Grilled Lettuce
    This is an insanely easy way to impress friends and a great side dish for pizza! Channel your inner Giada with a colorful salad of grilled lettuces. All you need is your colander, cutting board, knife, tongs and olive oil bottle. You’ll just want to make sure this hits the grill before any meats, so your veg friends can enjoy without worry!
    Get the recipe.
  3. Avocado
    A quick few minutes on the grill, a little lime juice, salt & pepper creates individual guac bowls you can eat right out of the skin! Spice it up if you want with cayenne, paprika or hot sauce. No need for a huge bowl of guac to sit outside and brown in the heat when you can have a fresh, simple solution. (Also, yahoo for portion control!) Serve with tortilla chips and veggies of your choice.
    Get the recipe.
  4. Stone Fruit
    Warm dessert with no oven action? We’re in! There’s nothing like winding down a summer night with seasonal fruit, a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream (or whatever flavor you like!) and a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy the glory of peaches, plums and nectarines while they’re here!
    Get the recipe.
  5. Grilled Pound Cake
    If you have a cake-loving crowd (the best kind of crowd!) why not throw an already made cake onto the grill? This is basically impossible to mess up because most of the work is done! If you don’t have peaches, try another stone fruit or serve with any fresh berries you have on hand!
    Get the recipe.

 

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

What’s the Best Way to Cook an Onion

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Now that we have chosen and cut our onions like a pro, I bet you are asking, “How do I cook an Onion?” The terminology used in recipes can sometimes be vague or confusing for how long to cook an ingredient, but don’t get overwhelmed, the best tools you can use to help you are your senses. As previously mentioned, the smell of onions cooking isn’t just mouthwatering, it will guide you to knowing how your Onions are cooking, such as a sweet scent.. Along with the way they look whole cooking is also another gauge for how you want your outcome, if you see your onions are beginning to burn, you know will need to adjust.  

DIFFERENT WAYS OF COOKING AN ONION

If you are going to use your onion as a base, you will want to gently saute them chopped or sliced for about 7-10 minutes, then add in the rest of your ingredients. Keep them sauting for 40-45 minutes and you will have a delicious caramelized for your burger.

Roasting along with your favorite veggie is always a great idea, you will want to to slice or cut into wedges and roast for 40-50 minutes. Don’t forget to season with a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil!

If your recipe calls for making onions, you will want to put them in for about 20-30 minutes.

The best way to get comfortable with cooking with Onions (or any ingredient) is to just start where you are, with what you have. No one said it has to be perfect and the more you practice, the better you’ll get. As promised, we’ve included some of our favorite Onion recipes. They ideal for practicing your cutting skills. Happy cooking!

15- Minute Caramelized Onions

Easy French Onion Soup

Pico de Gallo

Guacamole

Asian stir fry

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

Onion Cutting 101

102244141_Mince_Dice_Chop_Onions_Photo-by-Meredith

As we’ve discussed before, onions are a must-have in almost every recipe. But no matter what onion you are incorporating into your dish, there is always one obstacle: cutting the onion without sobbing like you’ve just watched the end of The Notebook.

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Cutting onions doesn’t haven’t to be a tear-filled experience. With the help of our Onion Slicer, dicing and slicing onions becomes a breeze. This tool not only will help you perfectly dice, slice or mince onion, it will also save you from balling your eyes out trying to cook dinner and prevent your hands from smelling like onions for the rest of the night.

But enough talk. Let’s show you how to cut an onion.

Sliced Onions

  • Cut onion into halves.
  • Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
  • Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
  • Lightly push in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
  • With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
  • Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
  • Use onion as directed in recipe

Remember that burger topper we spoke about ? This technique will give you a result of perfect half moons that are ideal for slow, long cooking delicious golden caramelized onions. Stay tuned, because we will share our fool proof recipe with you soon.

Diced Onions

  • Cut onion into halves.
  • Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
  • Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
  • Lightly push in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
  • With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
  • Once sliced, run your knife over the exposed onion to finely chop or dice (as needed).
  • Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
  • Use onion as directed in recipe

Depending on how closely you cut will determine the size of your chop or dice. Some recipes call for diced chopped, that way the onion almost melts down into translucent sweet pieces. Others will call for finely chopped so you still get the dominant flavor, *COUGH QUAC COUGH*. Guacamole is a perfect example, with finely chopped onion mixed in, you still get the flavor and a bit of crunch but it basically blends into the creaminess of the avocado. When in doubt on which to use, always follow the recipe, if the recipe doesn’t specify (most do) try diced for one recipe and chopped for the next time, it wont make a dramatic difference. In the meantime you’ll be a pro with our slicer.

We’d love to see how you slice and dice, share your photos with use using #Quoconow. Heck, we’d even love to see other unique ways you would use the slicer! Stay tuned for more Quoco tips.

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

Your Guide to Picking an Onion

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Amateur cooks and foodies alike all know that onions are a versatile and essential ingredient in countless recipes. I mean, who doesn’t love the smell of onions sauteing in a pan?

Onions are the base for cooking. In the majority of recipes, they are usually the first thing that goes in the pan (accompanied by that irresistible smell). The way you prepare and use onions will add a unique depth of flavor to any dish. Whether it is quickly sauteing with other vegetables as a base, or a long slow caramelization to incorporate a sweet element in your dish.

But, as you’ve seen at the grocery store, there are a wide variety of onions to choose from. And any cook may ask, “How do I know which type of onion to use for my recipe?”. You can of course trust the ingredients list from your cooking website or cookbook of choice. However, as a culinary education, it’s better to know what exactly a specific onion works in a particular recipe.

So, we’ve decided to put together a quick guide for you to make onion shopping a whole lot easier. Here’s how to find your type of onion:

Yellow Onion (Spanish Onion): This onion has a light golden skin with yellow flesh and is normally medium to small in size. Yellow onions are a good go-to option for any recipe. But hey are ideal for dishes with long cooking times. When you add caramelized onions to that burger order, you are usually adding a yellow onion. And who doesn’t loved caramelized onions?

White Onion: Known for a white papery skin with white flesh, White Onions are typically medium to large in size. Offering a sweeter and milder flavor than Yellow Onions makes them perfect to be used in raw form. Looking to step up your Taco Tuesday toppings? The crisp and clean taste of a white onion is a perfect additive to that Pico de Gallo recipe you saw on Pinterest… When in doubt, swap for Yellow onions.

Red Onion: Unique with a red/maroon skin with dark red and white flesh, Red Onions vary in size from medium to large. Red onions are mild in flavor, less “onion-y” as others. The are widely used when raw but adds sweet, subtle flavor when cooked. Speaking of Taco Tuesday, no fiesta is complete without a little bit, A LOT a bit of GUAC. Red Onion is a key additive to a deliciously flavorful guacamole. But just like caramelized, raw Red Onion is a great burger topper.

Shallots: Pinkish skin and light purple flesh, sizes and shapes vary, but  Shallots are commonly known for their bulb like shape. Once peeled, it divides into cloves, similar to garlic. Mild & sweet in flavor, Shallots can be substituted for ANY onion. Great to add to salad dressings or to roast with vegetables.

Green Onions – often referred to as Scallions differ in shape and size from their Onion cousins. Distinguished by its bright green tubular leaves attached to a small firm white bulb, they are almost always bundled together in a bunch. Green Onions present a much more mild taste than its counterparts, often compared to garlic. Being all encompassing, both the white and green parts are edible, where the bulb would be used as with any onion, for depth of flavor and the green leaves are used as a garnish and for texture. Commonly used in Asian dishes – stay tuned…we have a delicious stir fry recipe we will be sharing with you soon.

Now that you know what onion to pick out from the grocery store, it’s just a matter of incorporating each onion’s diverse uses and flavors into the dish you plan to make. And you can continue to follow and read more at QuocoNow to find our helpful hints on just how to do that.

Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, Tools

The Essentials

The Essentials

How Do I Use My Tools?

Onion Slicer

Cooking Essentials Pt 1-1 from Quoco Now on Vimeo.

Sliced Onions (Half Moons)

  1. Cut onion into two halves.
  2. Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
  3. Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
  4. Lightly insert in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
  5. With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
  6. Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
  7. Use onion as directed in recipe

Diced Onions (Chopped)

    1. Cut onion into two halves.
    2. Remove skin (you may need to remove an extra layer or two)
    3. Place one half cut side down onto a flat, hard surface (preferably a cutting board)
    4. Lightly insert in your Onion Slicer into the rounded side (about ¾ of the way in)
    5. With your knife, slice between each prong, continuing on until the last prong
    6. Once sliced, run your knife over the exposed onion to finely chop or dice (as needed).
    7. Gently pull out the Onion Slicer
    8. Use onion as directed in recipe

GARLIC

File_000 from Quoco Now on Vimeo.

Garlic Roller

  1. Using your fingers, divide the whole bulb into individual cloves. Store remaining cloves with the skin on.
  2. To remove the skin, place clove into Garlic Roller and apply slight pressure down as you roll the roller back and forth against a hard flat surface.

(Tip: make sure to clear the tube of any remaining skin, this little step will help prevent littering your drawer with flakes)

Garlic Chopper

    1. For chopped garlic, once you have removed the skin, place one piece of garlic (2 if tiny) into carriage of Garlic Chopper. Roll chopper for 15-20 seconds or until clove has been fully crushed.
    2. Remove from carriage and you are ready to use!

Olive Oil Bottle and Pourer

    1. Gently wash bottle before using.
    2. Pour in Olive Oil (Use what you have on hand, we’ll explain about the different types later on)
    3. Press pourer into top of bottle
    4. Enjoy! (Tip – go out and buy some fresh bread to dip in olive oil)