Category Archives: How To

Moka Pot: Make espresso without the machine… at home (like an Italian!)

You don’t need to go to Starbucks or your local hipster coffee shop to get your caffeine fix. To get strong coffee, you don’t even need to buy an expensive espresso machine that hogs limited kitchen counter space either.

If you want to make really eye-opening coffee that’s like espresso without the machine, make it like the Italians do… quickly and very cheaply at home, using a moka pot.

Learn more about how to make great coffee at home with a moka pot!

Secrets to the perfect steak: Cooking sous vide

Want to make the perfect grilled steak? Sous vide is a great method to cook steak exactly how you want it, but most sous vide steak recipes on the internet lack a critical steps that make all the difference between mediocre meat and a perfectly cooked, mouth-watering masterpiece.

Many sous vide enthusiasts get frustrated when they can’t replicate the perfect steak they see on blogs, videos, or Instagram. I was in the same boat for a long time. You know what it looks like, the perfect steak has a uniform, pink color on the inside and a thin, beautifully caramelized sear on the outside. And a great sous vide steak looks so invitingly juicy and tender.

But contrary to popular belief, it’s pretty easy to mess up a steak when cooking sous vide. In my years of cooking sous vide, I’ve made all of the newbie mistakes.

Learn how to cook the perfect sous vide steak

Healthy Homemade Dog Food… Fast (with a pressure cooker)

Healthy Dog Food Pressure Cooker

When our Boston Terrier Jack turned 10, we started to think more about his health, especially with the low-quality, dangerous dog food causing illness and even death in some pets. We didn’t want to feed him mass-produced dog food, even from previously well-trusted brands.

We decided that cooking quality, human-grade food made of chicken, veggies, and grains was the best way to ensure he’s eating well. And our recipe was a hit with Jack, a notoriously picky eater. Additionally, since feeding him this fresh dog food, we get lots of compliments on how shiny his coat is and how young he looks.

When we started making the recipe below, we were cooking with a crock pot, which required 8 hours of cook time. While we were happy with the result, it was far too time consuming to make.

Healthy Dog Food Pressure Cooker

When I adapted the same recipe for my Instant Pot electronic pressure cooker, I could cook everything in 1 hour. Also, the quality of the dog food I made was much better than with a crock pot, results were more consistent (it’s easy to control precisely how long each ingredient cooks), and cleanup became much easier (no more burnt on food on the sides of a pot).

Check out our recipe for healthy dog food

How to find Authentic Ethnic food – the First Rule of Ethnic Cuisine

Crowded Restaurant in Madrid, Spain

My first rule of ethnic cuisine is simple.

An ethnic restaurant is much more likely to serve delicious, authentic food when people of that culture are enthusiastically cooking, serving, and eating the food. Bonus points if they are primarily speaking the language of that culture. Super bonus points if they have either a secret ethnic menu or non translated menu items.

If an ethnic restaurant meets none of these criteria, it’s likely to suck. ¬†You wouldn’t want to eat at a Mexican restaurant in China where the waiter doesn’t even know what a taco is…. would you? (I think they called it a meat onion wrap)

I actually ate at exactly a place like this in 2000 and it was the worst Mexican culinary experience of my life. I don’t think the restaurant owners had ever eaten good Mexican food before, but then again none of their (very few) clients had either.

Ordering Mexican food in Chinese (no English or Spanish on the menu), eating cheese made by people who don’t eat cheese, and the ensuing stomach problems were all NO BUENO.

chinese_taco

Read more about the First rule of ethnic cuisine by clicking here!

How To Smoke a Brisket – Texas BBQ Brisket

I like brisket. No, I love brisket. It is THE best form of BBQ. I wanted to chronicle the process and provide a How To guide for BBQ smoked brisket. This smoked BBQ brisket recipe has provided me with consistently tasty and repeatable results. Below, I detailed a step by step process for using your own offset smoker to create a BBQ brisket that will rival that of any local BBQ joint. I’ve also included lots of photos for your reference.

…Click to see the entire recipe.

How to Make Simple Syrup (with pictures)

One of the most common components in mixed drink is simple syrup, which as the name suggests, is very simple to make. Simple syrup is just a mixture of water and sugar, but the secret ingredient is a little bit of heat.

Because sugar and water don’t mix completely in cold drinks, it’s important to heat the water when mixing in the sugar to ensure that the sugar dissolves completely. Using simple syrup instead of mixing in the sugar into every drink also saves a lot of time and energy if you are going to mix up a lot of drinks.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • a stirring device

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Add water to a pot and heat on high until it boils, reduce heat to medium.
  2. Add the sugar to water and stir.
  3. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the water becomes yellowish and clear.
  4. Remove the simple syrup mixture from the heat to cool.
  5. You can now mix your drink or bottle the simple syrup for later.

Check out the picture gallery below for a visual.

Happy Fooding!
-Peter

All photos courtesy of Peter Tsai Photography