Decoding Tough & Tender Cuts



Understanding the basic anatomy of one mammal — a cow, a pig, a woolly mammoth, or a rabbit — will help you develop an instinctual sense for which cuts of meat to use in almost any situation. Most of us already have a general awareness of how animals move, and, in order to determine which cuts are which, it’s helpful to think about how certain muscles may have had to work throughout the animal’s lifetime: Was it a hard-working, high-activity muscle (legs, cheeks), or a lazy, low-activity muscle (back, loin)? If you can answer that question, it will help you determine how long to cook it, and at what temperature, in order to achieve a whole range of results. In general, muscles that work harder will be tough, while muscles that work less will be tender.

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Chicken Liver Paté



Creamy, buttery chicken liver paté — it’s the stuff you order at the all-organic, farm-to-table establishment in the trendiest neighborhood in town. Making it at home has maybe never crossed your mind — it’s just one of those foods that seems to exist outside the domain of the home kitchen, its liver-y beginnings perhaps better left to mystery.

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Pressure Cookers



Once lauded as beacons of culinary convenience, pressure cookers fell out of favor as prepackaged foods began filling grocery store aisles and frozen, microwavable meals became de rigueur in homes across America. In fact, many generation Xers and Millennials grew up not really knowing what a pressure cooker does, though fans of competition cooking shows can’t miss their integral role on programs like Top Chef.

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Lemon Curd



Lemon curd—everyone loves the stuff. Like edible sunshine, it brightens pastries and adds awesome zing to tarts and parfaits. Its intense flavor demands attention, charming whoever eats it into a moment of focused appreciation. While fruit curds are often associated with sweet dishes, we like to work them into savory preparations as well.

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Pâte Brisée



Here’s a classic recipe for golden, buttery, flaky crust that’s perfect for pies and quiches. A jillion paper-thin layers melt in your mouth with every bite; brown and crispy on the edge, and tender in the middle—just like Grandma used to make. (But better!)

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Créme Brûlée



What is a custard, anyway? It is a delicious dessert, yes, but technically speaking it’s a liquid that has been thickened or set via the coagulation of egg protein. The key to perfect custards is to keep the internal temperature of the mixture below 185 °F / 85 °C—above that point, they have a tendency to curdle. And curdling, dear friends, is the bane of any custard baker.

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Steak with Red Wine Sauce



Making a steak is easy. Making a great steak? Well that’s another matter. As any chef or grillmaster will tell you, it’s all about controlling the heat in order to reach that sweet spot where the meat is tender, juicy, and full of flavor, neither under- nor overcooked.

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Ultimate Roast Chicken



A roast chicken with crispy, golden skin is a glorious thing. But cooks face a dilemma: how to crisp the skin perfectly without overcooking the flesh beneath it?

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