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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 1/18/2018

Pizza is, objectively, the greatest food ever invented. It's portable, filling, easy to make in large portions, and (arguably) has some nutritional value as well. The patron saint of children's parties and companion to college students everywhere, pizza is beloved at all times of day. You can eat it hot, cold or--in the case of microwave pizza--as molten lava applied directly to the tongue. Perhaps the greatest part about pizza is the variety and ingenuity that have been applied to it over the years. There are twelve main styles of pizza in the United States, according to the pizza Wiki, and there's a lot of overlap within those styles. Today, we're going to teach you how to make three main types of pizza: New York, Chicago, and Neapolitan. Between these three, there's enough variety to ensure you'll never get sick of eating pizza pies (as if that were even remotely possible).

New York Style

People don't sit down in New York. They're either too busy or too afraid of the benches and seats on the subway. It's much safer to just stay standing. But even those who don't sit still have to eat from time to time. New York style pizza is designed for just a person. They come in huge slices that are thin enough to be folded in half and eaten like a sandwich; one hand holding your slice, the other hailing a cab or waving obscenities at the tourists. Now for making the pizza: Stretch the dough thin and circular, with the outside of the circle just a bit thicker to form your crust. Go light on the sauce. Ideally, just crush some tomatoes and season. For the cheese, go with a medium moisture mozzarella and sprinkle on some oregano and parmesan. Bake at 500ºF for around 9 minutes until your crust is golden brown and crispy.

Chicago Style Deep Dish

Where other pizza makers hide the sauce inside the pizza, Chicagoans put it right on top showing off the quality of the deep red tomatoes. This isn't a pizza to eat on the run. In fact, proper etiquette says you eat this one sitting down with a fork and knife. Here's how it's made: First you need to butter your crust. Sounds weird, but that's what makes it so flaky and delicious. Once both sides are buttered, load it into the deep dish. Then put a liberal layer of your cheese down, then pile the sauce on top of that. This one needs a bit of time in the oven to cook. 25 minutes at 425ºF and it should start to look done.

Neapolitan Style

The closest we have to the original flatbreads that came out of Naples is the neapolitan pizza. You can make it Marinara style (no cheese) or Margherita style (light cheese). To make these babies, you're going to want a nice thin crust (Remember, these were originally just baked, crisp flatbreads). Instead of sauce, this one will have olive oil and tomato chunks or no tomatoes at all. The highlight here are all the herbs and spices you can add; basil, oregano and garlic all tossed in extra virgin olive oil are what give it it's signature flavor.  




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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 10/5/2017

If you walk down the kitchen aisle of any department store you'll see dozens of kitchen tools--some you've maybe never even heard of. As long as people keep buying gimmicky kitchen tools and utensils, companies will keep making them. The temptation might be there, when walking through Target, to buy that chicken-shaped egg yolk separator, but do you really need it? In this article, we'll cover the essential list of kitchen utensils. Once your drawer has these items, you won't need anything else. You'll free up space in your kitchen and avoid money-wasting gimmicks that often don't even work, allowing you to buy better versions of the tools that really count. Note: We won't be talking about the basic silverware and dishes (forks, spoons, plates, cups, etc.) since we can assume you already have those.

  1. The chef's knife. A chef's knife is arguably the most important item in any kitchen. A good chef's knife is made from steel, has balanced weight, and is comfortable to hold. Be sure to keep it sharp and there's nothing you can't cut with it.
  2. Two spatulas. One metal for flipping items on your baking sheets and meat on the grill, one plastic for your frying pans. Thin, heat-resistant, and durable are what you're looking for here.
  3. Three spoons. One wooden (for stirring), one plastic with holes and one plastic without holes.
  4. A strainer. You don't need four sizes of strainer; one big one will do. Be sure to pick one with handles, sturdy handles, for draining big pots of pasta.
  5. Shears. Whether it's for de-stringing a Thanksgiving turkey or opening up a bag of frozen peas, they'll save you a headache trying to use a knife.
  6. Serrated bread knife. Unless you like to ruin a fresh loaf of bread by crushing it while cutting it, you'll need a serrated edge.
  7. Measuring cups and spoons. Clean your measuring spoons by hand so they don't get tossed around in your dishwasher and melted.
  8. Can opener. Skip the huge electric can openers and buy a good handheld one that will last years.
  9. Cutting board. A quality large wooden cutting board will make your life a lot easier, and it won't dull your blades.
  10. Peeler. Y-shaped peelers are much easier to use than their knife-shaped counterparts.
  11. Mixing bowl. You could benefit from multiple mixing bowls if you do a lot of baking, but oftentimes you only need one large bowl for most recipes and can use your smaller soup bowls for other ingredients.

Avoiding the gimmicks

It seems like every day there's a new infomercial for a lemon juice squeezer or a banana slicer. You'll notice that they tend to follow certain trends and offer the same promises. Here are the ones to avoid:
  • Fruit and vegetable slicers. If you have a knife, there's no need for tools that claim to slice certain types of vegetables better than others.
  • Single-use tools. Shears designed just for cutting and serving pizza? Yes, they exist. Avoid items that will just take up space in your cabinets and opt for those that serve multiple purposes.
  • Things you've never heard of. If it's an object that you've never seen or heard of before, odds are you don't need it in your kitchen cabinets. The most time-tested tools are all it takes to make great meals in your kitchen.




Tags: tools   home   kitchen   Cooking   utensils   kitchen tools   cook  
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Deborah Schilling
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