5@5 - What chefs stress out about
June 9th, 2014
05:00 AM ET
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5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Chefs have a lot on their plates, from food costs and health inspections to sourcing ethically produced ingredients and making sure to see their family every once in a while. They're an anxious bunch, but chances are that diners will never see anything beyond a perfectly arranged plate and a sweat-free forehead. Restaurants are as much in the business of theater as they are in dining.

Todd Wiss knows what it takes to keep the seams from showing to the customers. As the executive chef of Firefly in Washington, D.C., he has made a mission of serving seasonal, sustainable, local food (often harvested from just a few feet above the restaurant), often with diners' dietary restrictions in mind. But there's an awful lot of work that goes into making things at this neighborhood favorite - or any restaurant - seem cool as a cucumber, even when the heat is on.

5 things that make chefs anxious (that diners never see): Todd Wiss
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Filed under: 5@5 • Chefs • Dietary Restrictions • Gluten-free • Social Media • Think


May 19th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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America's Test Kitchen  is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full¬time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

It’s finally here: graduation season. After thinking, writing, calculating, experimenting, reading, and exam-ing for years on end, students are finally donning robes, tossing their tasseled hats in the air, and marching across the stage to receive diplomas.

Such momentous occasions deserve momentous cakes: Layered desserts with rich frosting and the perfect spongy crumb.

But what if your graduate can’t eat gluten? They should still be able to have their celebratory cake and eat it, too. Which is why, in "The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook" we came up with a recipe for a layer cake that’s moist, springy, and holds its own with a decadent, chocolate frosting.
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March 3rd, 2014
10:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full­time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most­ foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

In the pantheon of cookies, chocolate chip cookies are just about everyone’s favorite. But gluten-free versions are all too often overly cakey or gritty - a far cry from the classic. We spent a year developing "The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook," and what would a gluten-free cookbook be without a tried-and-true chocolate chip cookie recipe? Here’s how we made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with a rich, buttery flavor, a crisp exterior and a tender (but not too cakey) interior. Even we had trouble tasting the difference between a traditional chocolate chip cookie and our gluten-free version.

We started the development process for our Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies by swapping in our flour blend for the all-purpose flour in a standard Toll House cookie recipe. It was no surprise that these cookies had problems: They were flat, sandy and greasy. We’d discovered during our baked goods testing that gluten-free flour blends simply can’t absorb as much fat as all-purpose flour can, so cutting back on the butter helped to minimize greasiness. Less butter, along with some xanthan gum, also helped alleviate the spread issue, so the cookies didn’t bake up so flat.
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December 23rd, 2013
01:45 PM ET
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Chelsea Wheeler is a 10-year-old girl with a passion and a plan.

"I want to have a diner," she says, sitting on her bed in her parents' house in Oxford, Connecticut.

"I'd like to make things that people think are yummy healthier, less fatty, and make it like they're being cooked for the Queen."

Chelsea loves helping her parents, Chris and Linda, prepare food for the whole family. They say she spends much of her free time watching the Food Network looking out for new recipes.

But Chelsea cannot taste the food she makes. She can eat almost no food at all. She suffers from a rare disease that has caused her intestine to fail irreversibly.
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November 20th, 2013
11:45 AM ET
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Isa Chandra Moskowitz is the host of The Post Punk Kitchen and author of multiple vegan cookbooks, including her most recent, "Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes For Every Day Of The Week." And yes, there are recipes if you scroll down.

Chances are you have a vegan in your life - a real dyed-in-the-natural-fiber-cruelty-free-wool vegan for whom all animal products are off limits. And perhaps that vegan is threatening a visit to your Thanksgiving table this year.

Thanksgiving is stressful. Everyone knows that; the very history of it is stress. The original celebration was not what people had to eat, but that they had anything to eat at all. Maybe things aren’t as bad as all that today, but it can still be stressful when someone needs a special menu.

But one of the great things about vegan meals is that everyone can enjoy them. (Provided they don’t have a nut allergy, or a wheat allergy, or...well maybe we oughta just go out for Chinese food.)

If your first thought was an eye roll, or something along the lines of, “That’s their choice - I don’t have to cook for them,” or if you think they can get by on salad and cranberry sauce, well, honestly, don’t even invite them. Somewhere there’s a welcoming table where the lentils overfloweth, and they will take your vegan in.

But if you actually like them, maybe even love them, or if your loved one loves them, or if you want them in any way, shape, or form to have a great time as your guest, then read on.
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