Know nothing about plants? No problem. Here’s your pain-free guide to growing your own herbs at home.
So you want to build your own herb garden! There’s nothing better than fresh herbs on hand when you need them — especially ones that you grew yourself. It takes homemade cooking to the next level.
Growing your own basil, thyme, mint plants and more is completely doable, but there are a few things you should know going into it, and there are steps you’ll need to take to make sure that you keep your plants alive and thriving.
- Pick a spot where they’ll live that has enough space, plenty of light, and is at room temperature.
Maybe the most important thing when you’re growing indoor plants is making sure they get enough sun. If there’s a particularly sunny corner of the kitchen, or a window with a large sill or enough room to place a table beside it, you’re in business.
If there isn’t enough light in your kitchen, you’ll have to settle your plants somewhere else in your home. Without light, they won’t stay alive, or at least won’t stay in good shape.
You also want to make sure the temperature of whatever room they’re in is somewhere around 65-72 degrees — in other words, at typical room temperature, give or take some variation during the winter and summer. If it’s cold out, avoid letting your plants actually touch the windowpane, since they could get nipped by the cold.
The only popular herb that prefers warmer to cooler temperatures is basil, which should stay at a temperature in the 70s both during the day and at night.
- Decide how you’re going to plant them.
First: we recommend starting with plants, rather than seeds. It’s much easier and sets you up for success, whereas if you’re starting from seeds, conditions temperature will play a much bigger and more sensitive role. Plus, if you start with seeds, you won’t be cooking with those herbs anytime soon.
You should also think about what container you want to put your plants in. Metal, plastic, and rubber are best, since clay pots, while pretty, are porous and let moisture pass through when you water the plants.
You also need to be sure that there are drainage holes at the bottom of the pot(s), and make sure that you have something beneath the pots to catch the water that drains. (No one likes unexpected wet spots on tabletops or floors.)
If you don’t want each plant to be in its own separate pot, for reasons of space or otherwise, know that you can certainly plant some plants together — but you should only cluster plants that have the same watering needs. For example, chives, mint, and coriander all like a lot of water, whereas rosemary, thyme, and oregano need intervals where their soil is dry.
- Choose your herbs.
This is almost as simple as deciding what herbs you like best, and which you think you’ll use the most! The only caveat is, as mentioned, that some plants have different needs and so shouldn’t share the same soil, and some plants — like basil — even require different climates than many others.
A few pretty easy, popular plants to grow at home: mint, chives, sage, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, coriander, parsley, and basil.
- Don’t neglect them!
Once you’ve set your plants up, all you have to do is make sure you’re on top of their upkeep. It’s pretty simple: check their soil regularly, and when you notice they’re dry, water them, doing your best to follow general guidelines of how much water each type of plant likes.
Be attentive to changes in the room’s temperature, too. If you head out on vacation for the summer and turn your central air off (or you aren’t running your AC units), you may be putting your plants in a tough spot. No one wants to be that person who asks their friends to come over and water their plants for them, but if you want your plants to survive, it’s probably worth it.
When you harvest leaves from your plants, the plant should branch and continue to produce more leaves. You should harvest leaves regularly to keep your plants from flowering — and be sure to start harvesting them before they flower — because once they start flowering, your window for harvesting leaves is over.
There are those days — and entire seasons — where the only kind of drink you want is a cold one. Here are the best methods to make your own ice-cold coffee.
If you’re a coffee person, that means that somewhere inside you, you are a cold brew person. Even if you staunchly drink hot coffee year-round, you either already have or will come around to the charms of cold java in the morning in the summertime, cool and fresh right out of the fridge. Besides, cold brew packs a stronger caffeine punch, with less of hot coffee’s acidic bite.
The trouble is, if you buy your coffee out at your favorite coffee shop on your way to work, it’s not exactly financially sustainable. At a minimum of $3.50 per drink, by the end of the summer, you could have shelled out for festival tickets, that pricey pair of shoes you don’t need but really want, or many, many, many wheels of brie.
As with most expensive things in New York, the workaround? Make your own. We’re here to teach you an easy, minimal-step method to making your own cold brew all summer long.
- Gather your equipment.
You have a few options in terms of equipment, no pieces of which are difficult to find or particularly expensive. They all require a coffee grinder, which is well worth investing in even if you’re just a hot coffee drinker. But other than that, all you’ll need is:
Option 1: Steeping container, sieve, coffee filter.
Option 2: Steeping container, cheesecloth/nut milk bag, optional coffee filter.
Option 3: Mason jar, sieve + coffee filter OR cheesecloth/nut milk bag + optional coffee filter.
Option 4: French press.
The steeping container could be anything — a bowl, a jar, a pitcher — and the size will just depend on how much coffee you want to make. The sieve, coffee filter, and cheesecloth or nut milk bag (despite the weird-sounding name, that’s just a bag for making your own nut-derived milks, like almond or cashew) are each to filter out coffee grounds and silt from the final product once it’s brewed.
As you decide on your gear, you should consider Step 2:
- Choose your quantity and ratio.
Decide how much coffee you want to make. The first two methods are great for making big batches of cold brew, which keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge, and which make it easy to just pour a glass over ice in the morning. As for the fourth method, which requires just a regular French press, the amount of coffee you’ll get depends on the size of your press.
The third method — the mason jar method — results in a cold coffee concentrate, which you then dilute with water or milk. This method is best if you like to play with the intensity of the flavor and caffeine in your coffee, and if you like a decidedly milkier, more latte-like faste.
If you go with one of the first two methods, the ratio of coffee beans (before you grind them) to water that you want is roughly 1-2:8. Where you land between 1-2 cups of beans to those 8 cups of water depends on how strong you want your coffee.
For the French press method, the ratio remains the same, but your French press may be too small to accommodate 8 cups. Try a ratio of ¾ cup (or a little more, if you like it strong) beans to 4 cups of water.
- Grind your beans.
The one thing to know about preparing coffee beans for cold brew? Grind ‘em coarse. At minimum, you should shoot for about French press-level coarseness, but coarser than that is great. The last thing you want is cloudy, silty coffee that leaves a residue in your mouth.
Place the beans in your container, and pour over cold water.
Make sure that water is cold! Pour it over the grounds in the bottom of the container slowly, like you’re trying to moisten every single individual one. Then gently stir the grounds, making sure they’re all well-soaked.
- Cover & let stand.
For methods 1, 2, & 3, ideally, cover your container or mason jar with a cheesecloth, but you could also use a thin kitchen towel, lightly placed over the mouth of the container. For the French press, put the top on, but don’t press down. Let this mixture steep at room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours, or more if you can spare the time.
Once your grounds have steeped, it’s time to strain them out.
For methods 1-3: If you don’t have a cheesecloth or nut milk bag, strain them into a bowl through a fine sieve, and then again through a coffee filter, to eliminate silt. (If you want, you can strain the whole batch through just the sieve, and then strain individual cups of cold brew you serve through a filter as you go, but that’ll eat up a whole lot of coffee filters.) Otherwise, strain the brew through your cheesecloth/bag into another container. You can, of course, strain again through a coffee filter for extra clarity, if you so desire.
For the French press method, push the plunger down slowly and pour the coffee out into another container. If it seems cloudy or silty, you can filter it again through a coffee filter.
At this point, you have the option to serve the room-temperature coffee immediately — over ice, or with cold milk, to bring the temperature down some more — or you can chill it for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
For the first two methods and the French press method of brewing, your coffee is completely ready to go, with whatever additions or flavorings you please! For the mason jar method, what you have now is a concentrate. A 1:1 dilution with water would give you the concentration of typical cold brew, but you should experiment with the concentration as you please. Dilute with water or milk to taste, and enjoy!
Ready to graduate from chips and salsa? Level up with these classy, delicious treats.
Outside of full meals, there’s probably nothing better in the world than snacking. But chances are, you’ve either gotten bored of or outgrown months-past-expiration vending-machine Cheetos and the office jug of Hershey’s kisses that you’re fairly certain is the same batch from the Valentine’s Day before last. Not to mention the fact that when your friends come over, gesturing vaguely to the dregs in your pantry is no longer an acceptable way to provide for guests.
For your sake and for your loved ones’, it’s about time you classed up your snack game. Ditch the Wheat Thins — no offense to our slender salty friends; they’re amazing, just a little overplayed — and pick up something along these lines:
- Old Dog Ranch Maple Organic Walnuts
Old Dog Ranch does one thing, and does it better than anyone else: makes walnuts. (And nut products.) You’d be hard-pressed to come across better fresh raw walnuts, but what’s really attention-grabbing are their flavored walnuts. They’re all flavored with natural, organic ingredients, and coated in such a way that the flavors don’t overpower the taste of the walnuts themselves.
Their maple walnuts, instead of being the sticky toothache most candied walnuts are, are light, crispy, and just a little sweet, making for the perfect snack to satisfy your sweet tooth without sending your blood sugar for a ride.
Old Dog Ranch’s nuts also come in other, equally delicious flavors: rosemary, chocolate, whiskey spice. All of them are as elegant as they are delicious. Do not deprive yourself.
- Orange Ginger Turkey Jerky
Jerky is a classic snack. Turkey jerky is a healthful update to that age-old snack. And orange-ginger turkey jerky is a positively sophisticated upgrade and an enviable treat.
- Levantine Za’atar Almonds
If you haven’t tried za’atar, you’re in for a world of flavor. It’s a typically Middle Eastern blend of herbs that include oregano, thyme, savory, sesame seeds, dried sumac, salt, and other spices, depending on where you find your blend.
Spice Foods updates classic almonds with this zingy flavor, and ensures that every other kind of nut seasoning will taste bland forever after.
- The Vine Mango Habañero Salsa
There’s nothing better than a fruit-accented salsa — mango, pineapple, peach — to up your salsa game. — Except adding a note of hot pepper on top of that. Somehow, The Vine’s mango habañero salsa manages to please both sweet teeth and heat seekers. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
Honestly, this one speaks for itself. The seeming rarity of green tomatoes and the classiness of chutney combine to give you one ridiculously delicious spread for toast, crackers, cheese, and all of those together.
- Green Tomato Chutney
Running can tire you out, but it’s not nearly as exhausting as trying to figure out what to eat to keep pounding the pavement with gusto. Try these techniques to fuel your runs.
I’ve been a runner for ten years. It started when I decided to tag along with my older cousin on a run around her neighborhood in Mesa, Arizona. It seemed like fun, I thought, and so we headed out. But even at dusk — and even without humidity — the heat was oppressive. Besides that, I hadn’t run a single time outside of the mandatory one-mile run I’d had to do in PE classes in middle school. I was out of breath within a quarter mile.
“How much farther are we going?” I asked my cousin, hands on my knees, panting.
“As far as we can!” she said.
She, of course, could have gone much farther than we did that evening — she was a good sport, and slowed her pace and shortened her circuit for my sake. She helped me learn how to pace myself, and, after our run, how to refuel so I wouldn’t hit a wall later.
And with that, I was hooked. I kept my cousin’s tips in mind as I slowly built a running routine that year: thirty minutes, at a pace that felt challenging but not bad, trotting around my neighborhood at home. My mileage in those thirty minutes went slowly but steadily up over the course of the next couple years, and soon I was playing with longer distances: five miles, seven miles, ten miles.
But no matter what my mileage is on a run — three miles or thirteen — I keep in mind those two core things my cousin taught me: pacing myself and nourishing myself so that the run feels good. For pacing, sometimes a fast pace feels good, and other days I want to take it easier.
But the main thing that keeps me feeling good on runs? Eating right before and after a run — and, if the run is long enough, eating sometime in between.
K'ul's functional chocolate and energy bars
Before a run
Generally speaking, you don’t want to eat right before a run. You want to have enough fuel in you to give the run the energy it requires, but you don’t want to be weighed down by a full stomach, either. Even if you’re digesting something small, eating too close to your run can mess with your energy.
If you’re a morning runner, what and how much you eat will definitely depend on what works best for you (you’ll have to do some experimentation), but it’s often a good idea to have something small but that contains good immediate energy, like a banana or a small energy bar. BuckWHAT!, based in New York City, makes a great bar that comes in just under 200 calories made of just fruits, nuts, oats, almonds, chia seeds, and cinnamon — all good, natural fuel to get you going. Whatever you eat, give yourself at least half an hour to an hour to digest, as your morning timing allows.
If you go for a run after a substantial breakfast, or in the evening after work, your body will be working on digesting that last full meal. In this case, definitely allow at least hour before you hit the road, trail, or treadmill so that you don’t feel heavy and uncomfortable with a meal still in your stomach, and so that you can make use of the energy you just consumed.
After a run
Once you’re done, the first and most important thing to do is drink a lot of water to replace what you sweated out. Drinking something with electrolytes is also a good idea, but ideally, steer clear of an energy drink packed with sugar: what you need in terms of substance is a balance of carbohydrates and protein, so we recommend drinking water and then finding your way to a snack within 20 or 30 minutes of the end of your run.
Some good snack ideas: yogurt, a slice of bread/toast and nut butter, toast and a hard-boiled egg or two, chocolate milk (a classic post-workout treat). Alternatively, reach for an all-in-one snack designed for energy and activity: K’ul Superfood Bars are a great option, with a blend of macronutrients and a pretty outstanding chocolate flavor.
BuckWHAT!'s Nosh Bar
When to eat during a run
For the most part, if your run is under an hour, you don’t need to eat in the middle of it: you should have enough fuel in your regular diet to see you through it.
Over an hour, and you should consider feeding your body during the run. Why? Somewhere between the 60-minute and the 75-minute mark (depending on the runner), your body will really and truly have run out of fuel, and you’ll hit a wall. You can probably push through, but if your body isn’t accustomed to prying less-readily available energy from your body (i.e., from your fat stores), it’s going to be uncomfortable. And whether you’re training for a race or just building up your mileage, hitting that wall during one run might mean an overall setback in your progress.
The trick, if you’re going for a run longer than an hour, is to give yourself that extra fuel before you’re going to need it. So about 30 minutes into your run, ingest something — ideally some high-octane fuel in the form of gels or chews, but otherwise, something quick and easy to eat, like Owl Pellets or BuckWHAT! Noshes — and you’ll get that boost right when you need it.
A good rule of thumb: for every hour you run above 60-75 minutes, you’ll need between 30-60 grams of carbohydrates.
For all of the above, bear in mind that what you personally will need might diverge a little bit from these tips, or it might be dramatically different! Every body is different, and it always takes some playing around to figure out what works best for you. Try some different fueling methods and timing, keep a log of how each feels, and you’ll gradually work your way toward the ideal fueling method for you and you alone.
Stop letting the crowds, trends, and your late-morning lie-ins determine your brunching fate. Start making the city’s best brunch in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Let’s face it: as great as you want it to be, the ritual of brunch is a monstrous thing. Trying to wrangle a group of friends who all live in different places and wake up at different hours, to go to a popular restaurant and wait at least an hour in line to get in, just to eat long past when your raging hunger has wilted to a sad ache in your stomach? It’s a true test of friendship, and not our idea of a fun weekend morning.
Of course, the alternative is still daunting: invite a group of friends over and cook a lavish brunch that you can trust to both feed and satisfy everyone? It might seem impossible. But that’s just because you don’t have a host of secret (brunch) weapons in your pantry — yet.
So here’s a roundup of five treats that will guarantee you not only a delicious brunch, but one more unique and outstanding than what you’d get at the same place you’ve been going all year. Plus, these products are homemade by local artisans who really, really care about making food taste good.
- Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake Mix
Sure, you could try to find the perfect blueberries that’ll stay good for the morning of your brunch, and you could buy a big jug of buttermilk that winds up being way more than what you use for your brunch buttermilk pancakes — or you could make the fluffiest, most delicious pancakes with Christina Maser Pantry’s pancake mix. Because Christina Maser hand-makes products with enormous care, you can basically call these pancakes homemade.
- Maple Cube
Did you know maple comes in cubes? Surprise! Maple syrup is about to start looking real basic. This is the perfect way to add sweetness and maple flavor to anything: coffee or tea, oatmeal, and, of course, pancakes. You can still have syrup on the table, but serving this maple cube on a saucer, with a tiny grater (try a nut grater, or you can buy Tonewood’s maple cube and grater as a set), is the perfect elegant and original touch for your brunch.
If you’re not familiar with ghee, an introduction: it’s butter with the water cooked out and the milk solids caramelized and strained, so that what you end up with is a luxurious, supple, creamy, perfect butter to spread on — well, everything. (Seriously.) Aside from its alleged health benefits, ghee is just plain more delicious than regular butter, and it spreads on like a dream. Use it raw for pancakes, toast, muffins, oatmeal, and whatever else is on the table.
The foodmaker, Simply Ghee, also sells a honey ghee. Both come with our full endorsement.
- Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Marmalade
The name says it all. Skip the ordinary strawberry jam and grape jelly in favor of this tangy, mouth-watering combination of lemon and blood orange. Plus, marmalade always just feels fancier.
- Pecans from Our Daily Eats
Our Daily Eats is located in the Hudson Valley, and grows and roasts some of the freshest, most delectable nuts we’ve ever tasted. Serve them plain as a snack or garnish, or roast them with butter and sugar as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal.
Best practices for cooking any kind of egg your heart — and stomach — desire.
Eggs are one of the easiest things to make, but they’re one of the hardest things to do really well. They’re also often misunderstood: for a lot of people, “sunny-side up” and “over-easy” are synonymous; for others, there’s only one way to scramble an egg.
So here’s a brief rundown on what, exactly, different egg preparations are; what some other things are that you can do with eggs that you may never have tried; and the best techniques to make each of these types of eggs.
First, a general technique for all methods: take the egg off the fire, or out of the oven, before it looks perfect to you. It will finish cooking off the fire, especially if it hangs out in the pan for a minute after you’re taken it off, but it’ll keep cooking even if you put it straight on the plate. So if you take your eggs off the heat just before they’re perfect, then by the time you serve them, they’ll have achieved perfection.
- Use plenty of butter. You need it to fully coat the surface of the pan. (You can probably use a touch less in a non-stick pan, but seriously: don’t skimp.) This will allow you to flip the egg — if you’re flipping it — without any sticking or tearing, and it will allow the egg to cook evenly and slide out of the pan with ease. Also, butter makes eggs taste delicious.
Before you add anything to your pan, heat it fully. If you’re using a stainless steel pan, you want to heat it, specifically, until when you scatter water onto it, the drops skid across the surface of the pan as though they’re not even touching it (a lot like mercury, if you’ve had the (dangerous) occasion to play with it).
This is called the Leidenfrost effect, when a liquid comes into contact with a mass much hotter than its own boiling point — and it’s the trick to cooking in stainless steel: if you get the pan to this point, you reduce the chance of anything sticking, which makes for an even cook, and makes it easier to flip an egg with just the motion of the pan instead of a utensil.
Heat the butter over medium-high until it’s melted — and then some. Let it really melt and come to temperature over the fire before you add your eggs. This is so that when you add the egg, even if it’s coming right out of the fridge (and, ideally, you’d pop the eggs out at least a little earlier than you’re trying to cook them, to take the hard chill off), it’ll start setting and cooking right away rather than spreading helplessly across the pan and cooking unevenly.
It also allows the butter to perform the role it’s supposed to, which is to say, of creating a sealing layer on the bottom of the egg and itself heating the egg through, rather than just combining with the egg before it’s hot. (As you’ll see, this matters less for scrambled eggs, where you really are mixing the butter into the eggs.)
Over-easy, over-medium, over-hard:
These are variations of a fried egg that you flip, so that it cooks on both sides, but that differ in the degree to which you cook them.
For an over-easy egg, you cook it primarily on one side, then flip it and cook it just long enough for a thin film to develop over the yolk. What you’ll end up with is a very runny yolk and cooked but still very, very soft whites.
For over-medium: cook the egg a little longer, until the yolk is still wet but considerably more viscous. The whites will be cooked through, but still soft.
For over-hard: cook the egg until the yolk is no longer runny, though ideally not dried out — unless that’s what you’re into, in which case, while not advisable, it still falls under the umbrella of “over-hard.”
A sunny-side up is an egg you pan-fry without flipping until the white is set but the yolk remains runny. It’s great to enjoy on toast (maybe over a light layer of mashed avocado) or on an open-faced bagel, so that you can sink your teeth into the yolk and let it run all over the bread. It’s also great for just sliding onto a plate and dipping toast into. It’s also possibly the best egg preparation of all.
Hard, soft, insanely soft:
- If you’re using a nonstick pan, you definitely don’t need to use much butter if you don’t want to. If your pan isn’t nonstick, please, we’re begging you: use enough that your eggs don’t stick or burn into your pan. It’s just a waste of eggs and will make you very sad. Moreover, it makes us very sad.
- Heat the butter and cook your eggs over medium or medium-high heat if you’re paying close attention and know what you’re looking for in your end result. If you’re feeling more tentative, are multitasking, or just want to experiment and take your time, you can cook them over slightly lower heat: you’ll have more time and control so as not to overcook them, and they won’t be any worse for wear.
- Unless you’re making French eggs or want really small curds, use a spatula and fold the eggs intermittently to break them up gently.
There are as many ways to scramble an egg as there are ways to cook an egg, but generally speaking, you can have your scrambled eggs in one of three ways: cooked through so that they’re on the drier and chewier side, usually with larger curds; cooked just until set and forming curds, but still soft and wet; and then what’s usually thought of as the French way to scramble eggs: insanely soft, and often creamy.
For the first two methods, you’ll usually cook the eggs with a spatula, occasionally scraping the bottom to make sure you cook the eggs evenly, and breaking up the curds as you please.
For French-style eggs — or you might have tried similar eggs at Williamsburg eatery Saltie, which has a pretty novel approach to scrambled eggs that turns out just as soft and beautiful as French eggs — the key to these is to beat the raw eggs, a lot, so that they’re as airy and fluffy as possible before you even put them in the pan; and then mix them constantly throughout cooking, ideally with a whisk, so that they form the smallest, most unctuous curds possible.
- “Crashed Eggs”:
We give credit for this name to Juli Ronderos of Salt Cathedral, though you may have stumbled upon this method just by experimenting in your kitchen. It’s definitely not exclusive to the kitchens of Colombia, but we loved her name so much we’ve adopted it whenever we make eggs like this.
Crashed eggs are basically scrambled eggs that you don’t actually scramble until they’ve begun to cook, so that by the end, whether you leave them soft or cook them hard, there are still visible bits of both white and yolk. We love these because with each bite, you get to taste one or the other or both combine in a different way than you do with regular scrambled eggs. Basically, you get the taste of fried eggs and the texture of scrambled. It’s a win-win.
Poached eggs are delicate creatures. They’re one of the more delicious egg preparations, and certainly the purest — since you cook them in a water bath, all you end up with is the flavor of the egg, which you can put on basically anything to make it at least twice as good as it was without the egg (soup, salad, toast, under hollandaise, over vegetables, …).
But it’s also a tricky and high-maintenance method. There are a ton of tips out there on how best to keep the egg in one piece while it’s being rocked around in a rolling boil. Some of these don’t have enough evidence or consistency to make them foolproof, but one good general technique is to crack the eggs individually into a ramekin, then tip them gently (one by one) into the water.
One novel method worth trying: poach the egg in plastic wrap. This way you’re at least guaranteed to keep the egg in one piece, without losing the first one as penance for daring to poach eggs, the way the first pancake always gets sacrificed to the scrap pile.
This is a lesser-known but surprisingly good kind of egg. To baste an egg, add some butter to your pan — at least one pat per egg — and crack the eggs in as though you’re frying them. Then cover the pan and let it steam. Throughout the process, if you want, you can lift the lid, scoop some of the butter up, and drizzle it back over the egg: hence the basting effect. This gives you an especially soft egg with a buttery taste, without having to flip it — almost like an egg poached in butter.
This technique is really just a method of making scrambled eggs, but it’s a little unusual — it’s scrambled eggs whose cooking mostly entails steaming the eggs within themselves. It makes for incredibly soft, small-curd eggs that are rich and creamy. It’s best done with a lot of eggs — ideally 4 or more — so that nothing cooks too quickly and you can get a really thick, even batch of eggs.
Start with a cold pan and crack your eggs into it, and add the butter at the same time — all cold. Turn the heat to medium or even medium-low, once you get things to temperature, and allow the eggs to cook and the butter to melt incredibly slowly. Keep a close eye on things, and scrape the bottom well when you stir (which should be regularly, but not constantly) — you may want to turn the temperature down or occasionally remove the pan from the heat to ensure an even cook throughout the eggs. Cook them until they’re almost the way you want them to be, and then either turn off the heat or move the pan to another burner to finish cooking on their own.
- This is the lowest-maintenance egg technique out there, so of course when it comes to the one area where there’s room for variation, there are two major camps: the people who think you should drop your eggs into water that’s already boiling, and those who think you should start your eggs in the water and let them come to temperature with it.
Honestly, you’ll get great eggs either way if you let them cook for the right amount of time. So whatever method you choose, figure out how long you need to let your eggs cook, and then stick to that method for consistent results.
- When it comes to boiled eggs, you have three options: hard-boiled (good for eating alone with salt and pepper, or slicing and adding to a sandwich or salad), soft-boiled (ideal for dipping toast sticks in, or adding to a sandwich), and somewhere-in-the-middle-boiled: a happy medium if you want to serve them cold like hard-boiled eggs, but keep the gooey yolks of soft-boiled eggs.
Baking eggs allows the heat of the oven to puff them up nicely and cook them evenly, and since you need to cook them in a dish — individual ramekins or (well-greased) muffin tins, or better yet, many eggs all together in a larger dish — you wind up with a pleasingly thick egg that you can slip a fork or a spoon down into.
Whatever receptacle you place your raw eggs into, be sure to grease it well with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Cook them at 325ºF for about 10-12 minutes (for individual ramekins) or longer, depending how large your dish and how many eggs you're cooking (it's best to consult particular recipes in this case), until the whites are set and the yolk has begun to set, but isn't hard or dry.
with all of these options to choose from, you can genuinely never run out of creative, delicious, and crowd-pleasing ways to serve eggs. Make them quickly before you run out the door for work in the morning, or spend a little more time on the perfect poached eggs for eggs Benedict for a lazy Sunday brunch.
Sprucing up your living space is a noble quest — until it gets cluttered. Here’s how to beautify your kitchen with things that serve a purpose other than just looking great.
It’s all too easy to let your kitchen get cluttered. You start with one, or one set, of the utensils and appliances you need: one matching set of forks and knives. One vegetable peeler. One can opener. One set of mixing bowls, each of a different size. One ladle. OK, maybe two spatulas.
And then, suddenly — whether you wind up accumulating pretty additions over time, you move in with roommates, or you combine homes with a partner — you have anywhere between three and nine of everything. And no one wants to be the one to let their stuff go.
With a ton of stuff in your kitchen to make room for, it becomes impossible to even think about arranging things in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing. You’re using all available counter space as storage, and any pretty, decorative things wind up in other rooms, or in a closet somewhere.
So if you want to get your kitchen (back) in order, first things first: you’re going to have to complete the hard task of weeding out unnecessary doubles of everything, and maybe even letting go of a few things that you bought but never actually use. (Admit it: you probably have a friend or family member more likely to use that pasta maker than you are.)
Then you can start to think about how you want your kitchen to look — as in, turning it into a room that’s not just a kitchen, but a pleasant place to be. Especially if you spend a lot of time in your kitchen cooking, or your kitchen merges with your living room in an open floor plan, it’s worth making it a space that feels good.
So how do you do this without adding a ton of unnecessary clutter? One way: own as many things as possible that are useful or even necessary kitchen utensils, but that also look really good. It doesn’t take that many individual items, either: it can be as simple as having complementary utensil holders, serving utensils, and a salt cellar that create a theme in your kitchen.
Copper utensils by Beautifull Served by Jill
Once you have some kind of consistent color or material scheme, you can start to add accents that either match it, or create interesting other themes and layers that look good with it. So, for example, buy a set of dish towels (a relatively inexpensive way to add a shock of color and some life to your kitchen) that complement those core decorative (and functional!) pieces.
Linen tea towels by Printwork by Toni Point
If you already own a lot of kitchen pieces that are of value to you, but that aren’t bold enough to really set a theme, add some items that you don’t yet have that are more decidedly aesthetic, but that still serve a purpose in a kitchen. Say, a bright-colored lemon juicer, a ceramic French press, or a patterned serving platter.
Finally: plants. Many plants aren’t going to be functional in a culinary sense — and that’s fine! Any plants are a guaranteed way to bring life to a room and make it feel pleasant and cozy.
But if you feel prepared to take particular care of some plants, and especially if you cook a lot, you should consider starting your own personal herb garden.
It’s definitely something that takes more attention and care than, say, succulents or larger house plants whose sheer size makes it impossible to forget to water them, but it’s well worth it if you find yourself buying store-bought fresh herbs to add to your dishes.
There are a few different ways you can build your own herb garden — and we go into detail about a bunch of them here. But this is one of the very best ways there is to make your kitchen both more beautiful and functional at once — and make your food even more delicious.