August 9th, 2012
04:45 PM ET
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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.

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Filed under: How To • Italian • Italy • Make • Recipes • Staples • Techniques & Tips

Risk a brisket on the grill
May 28th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
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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.

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Filed under: Barbecue • Favorites • Grilling • Grilling • How To • Ingredients • Meat • Smoking • Techniques & Tips

Achieve grilling greatness - tips, recipes, advice and inspiration from professional chefs and backyard masters
May 25th, 2012
06:00 PM ET
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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. 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.

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Filed under: Grilling • Grilling • Help Desk • How To • Smoking • Techniques & Tips

Want great coffee for less? Take matters into your own hands
May 24th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
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A revolution has been brewing in the workplace among coffee drinkers unwilling to settle for the break room sludge.

For some of them, pod machines and single-serve cups provide the illusion of a superior product. Others swear by the French press method, which has traditionally reigned supreme as the alternative to automatic coffee makers.

Now, more hand-brewed coffees from devices like pour-overs and the Aeropress are popping up in home kitchens and cubicles alike. Even in the break room, the buzz of a coffee grinder has become a regular morning fixture. But why the fuss?

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Filed under: Coffee • Help Desk • How To • Sip • Techniques & Tips

April 24th, 2012
11:30 AM ET
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Scorpacciata is a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. It's a good way to eat.

In theory, it's spring today. Not that you'd be able to tell it from the weather, which seems unable to decide between parboiling and deep-freezing various chunks of the country, but I'm clinging on to a few telltale signs at the farmers market and in produce aisles.

While summer's sumptuous heirloom tomatoes and versatile, velvety okra are undeniably wonderful, spring's unique bounty feeds my senses and my soul. After a season of hearty, dense, nourishing and occasionally dull root vegetables, the earth is coming to life again in a riot of color and flavor. Might as well celebrate over dinner.

December 27th, 2011
02:00 PM ET
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“What do I have to do to get on your dad’s jerky list?”

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that entreaty; my father’s beef jerky has quite the reputation among friends, family and acquaintances.

But this is a tale of lying, thieving, hoarding and conniving by humans and four-legged creatures, all in the name of Joseph Cavalluzzi’s jerky.

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Filed under: How To • Make • Techniques & Tips

November 24th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact. Leave your Thanksgiving questions in the comments below and we'll do out best to address them.

T minus 2 – Defrost that turkey!
November 22nd, 2011
03:45 PM ET
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We're sharing our time-tested Thanksgiving hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.

From the comments:

Sweet mother of poultry, the turkey isn't thawed all the way! WHYYYYYYYYY MEEEEEEE?!?!? How long does it take to defrost a turkey?

If you're reading this at any point in the week before Thanksgiving, you have no reason to panic. Sez the USDA's website:

Plan ahead: allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below.


November 16th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Country hams are terrifying. They’re dessicated, mold-ridden and possessed of a barnyard funk that could conceivably cause a soul to rethink their entire relationship with the animal kingdom.

They should not – for country ham is an American national treasure that rivals the finest porcine offerings of Italy, Spain and any other of the world’s ham-curing cultures. Here is what to do if you find one.

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