March 17th, 2014
09:00 AM ET
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Jeremy Harlan is a CNN photojournalist. He has previously covered, veterans in the kitchen, veal farming and life on the campaign trail.

Is there no greater signal of spring than a grocery store’s meat section overflowing with corned beef briskets? I really can’t think of one.

I’m not Irish, and I don't pretend to be the biggest beer drinker or have a vast collection of emerald threads in my closet. So boiling a large pot of corned beef and cabbage has been my go-to tradition in honoring Ireland’s patron saint.

My wife, on the other hand, does not share my appreciation for this annual March feast. I believe her exact words (a nod to Anchorman) are, “Ugh, that smells like Sex Panther.”

Sixty percent of the time, she hates it every time.

So this year I’ve scrapped the corned beef and cabbage menu in hopes of finding a meal more authentic to Ireland. Come to find out, it was never really an Irish tradition in the first place.
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Filed under: Cathal Armstrong • Cooking • Make • Recipes • St. Patrick's Day


5 bad excuses for not cooking
February 25th, 2014
07:00 PM ET
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This is the eighteenth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.

You should cook. Yes, you. Even if you don't want to.

This isn't like saying that you should learn Ovid in the original Latin for the enrichment of your soul, or requiring that you hunker and hone your julienne and demi-glace skills until you emerge victorious in a battle overseen by Alton Brown or Anthony Bourdain. This is about getting yourself fed and taking a modicum of responsibility for it.

You eat, right? Maybe even more than once a day? (Or even if you ingest some combination of nutrients solely through methods that don't require chewing, smoothies have to taste like something, don't they?) And I'm going to go ahead and assume that you'd like to continue living in your body for the next while. Assembling foodstuffs for intake without the intermediary of a drive-thru speaker, menu, or segmented tray and microwave is the ideal way to facilitate that.

Yet people object, throw their hands in the air and simply refuse. Here's why they're wrong.
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Filed under: Cook • Cooking • Eat This List • Make


February 6th, 2014
11:45 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 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.

Homemade chicken broth can improve your cooking by leaps and bounds. But the traditional method for making chicken broth requires a whole chicken, leeks, carrots, celery, parsley sprigs, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and peppercorns - not to mention at least 2 1/2 hours of simmering.

We prefer to keep it short and simple and found a faster way to a rich, flavorful broth. We use only chicken legs, onion, bay leaves, and salt in our Quicker Chicken Broth, which only takes 60 minutes to cook.
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Content Partner • Cooking • Make • Soup • Staples


December 12th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski, holupki and paska.

I’ve always enjoyed the Slovak food my mother and extended family prepares. We eat these dishes at every family gathering: weddings, funerals and holiday celebrations. We eagerly approach the buffet display to find the holupki and haluski that usually occupy the first few trays, but at the end of the tables are the treats.

Cookies and cakes dominate that section, but the pastry that has always delighted my palate is the kolachi nut roll. Kolachi (sometimes spelled "kolache") is the name often given to a standard type of Slavic dough-filled pastry. Our kolachi is rolled dough filled with a walnut mixture, but other families fill theirs with a poppy seed mixture.

My aunt Eleanor was always celebrated as the one whose recipe held the quality edge over the other family members'. Obviously, this unofficial title has been disputed, but I concede that hers had a slight advantage in my childhood memories.

But Eleanor’s health eventually left her unable to make the delicious kolachi. As her health was failing, she insisted that her daughter Renee learn her kolachi recipe and carry on the tradition and her legacy. My cousin Renee embraced her mother’s challenge, and carries, in my mind, the title for making the best kolachi nut roll.
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Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Cookies • Cooking • Cultural Identity • Culture • Family Recipe Index • Holidays • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


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