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A crumb crust is a classic choice in many single-crust pies. It’s more durable than classic pie dough, making it the right choice for the moist custard-based fillings in recipes like Key Lime Pie (recipe below).
Graham crackers are the classic choice. For chocolate cookie crusts, we prefer Oreos. While buying a store-bought ready-to-go crust is a tempting shortcut, these are always stale and bland. Making your own is incredibly easy and well worth it for a fresh-tasting crust with a crisp texture and balanced sweetness to do your homemade pie filling justice.
Some people maintain that Memorial Day officially marks the start of grilling season and Labor Day, the end. Those people, for the most part, are wrong. Some folks maintain the flame in snowdrifts up to their thighs. Others won't haul out the hibachi until late September because it'll finally be cool enough to cook outside without wilting like a hothouse gardenia.
So what we're saying is, so long as our spatula isn't actively frozen or melted to our hands, and monsoon spray does not prevent us from lighting a charcoal chimney, we're going to be outdoors, putting flame to food and quaffing a cold beverage. Why don't you just come along and join us?
Catch up on the rest of our great cookout and picnic tips below, and if you run into a sticky grilling situation - we're here to help. Share your burning questions in the comments or Tweet us @eatocracy and we'll have your festivities back on track in no time.
Achieve Grilling Greatness
This is the seventh installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.
Last week, I found myself hanging out with five whole hogs, three briskets and a whole lot of barbecue legends (and their faithful disciples) near some fire pits in freezing cold Murphysboro, Illinois. We'd congregated there for the second annual Whole Hog Extravaganza and BBQ MBA program, and when I wasn't stuffing my mouth with some of the best pork and brisket on the planet, I was slamming it shut and soaking up what these venerable pitmasters had to say.
Here's a taste.
Just in case you still have eggnog to spike or plums to sugar before the gang arrives, consider us Santa's little helpers.
We're sharing our time-tested Christmas tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Christmas with a jolly smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on December 26 with your sanity intact.
Here are a few helpful holiday posts that may make your holiday bright.
Yo mama's cinnamon is so old, its UPC code is "1."
Yo mama's thyme is so old, they used it to season the Last Supper.
Yo mama's cloves are so old, the bottle has a Brontosaurus steak recipe on the side.
Casey Barber, a food writer in Clifton, New Jersey, says many Hostess products and their associated feelings of nostalgia are easy to conjure up in a home kitchen, but there's one thing she's never been able to replicate: "There's just a fakeness about them, a teeth rattling extra super-sugaryness that comes with the high fructose corn syrup that you're not going to get if you make a Twinkie or Devil Dog at home."
She made these raspberry "Zingers" - a snack cake sold under both the Dolly Madison and Hostess brand names - in October. The recipe is in her forthcoming book,"Classic Snacks Made from Scratch."
Samantha Reichman is an intern on CNN Early Start and Starting Point. She is a senior at The College of William and Mary, a coffee fiend and a trained barista. She blogs at Alimentación. All pictures taken at Blue Bottle Coffee in Manhattan.
As local coffee culture seems to be approaching critical mass, the need for a superior, distinctive product is becoming even more pressing.
Caffeine aficionados are also experiencing a phase of experimentation. Myriad styles of coffee preparation and presentation combined with selective sourcing allow for unprecedented levels of personal flair. But can individuality truly be achieved at an espresso bar?
I thought I knew how to make eggplant Parmesan (or ParmiGIANa if you're feeling especially Italian). Eggplant, a little breading, sauce, cheese – what can go wrong with that?
Then I met Chiara Lima. She's the bubbly Italian woman who taught the best way to make this traditional Italian favorite at Mamma Agata's Italian cooking class I recently took in Ravello, Italy.
I've never had any complaints about my brisket. That could be because no one is especially keen to rag on the crazy-eyed lady wielding a hot pair of tongs and giving out free meat, but I'd like to think that it had at least a little bit to do with quality.
Burgers, hot dogs, steaks and chicken are cookout classics for a reason. They're crowd-pleasers and (with a little care) relatively un-screwuppable. They're a safe bet, but for maximum impact, only a giant hunk of meat will get the job done.
Consider the brisket. It's a big ol' flat, cut of beef from the chest of a cow, and it's the stuff of Texas legend. It's bone-free and takes a fairly long time to cook down under low, slow charcoal heat, but every last stomach grumble is worth it.
While many weekend grillers think this sort of project is best left to fifth-generation Texas pitmasters and smoke-soaked competition barbecue acolytes with big, schmancy smokers, a succulent brisket is achievable in your backyard grill.
Really. I promise. Here's how.