How to Cut a Pineapple

whole pineapples

There are plenty of good reasons to buy a pineapple. Whether you’re blending up piña coladas, or making sweet and savory dinner, you’ll need to start by learning how to cut a pineapple.  

Whole vs. pre-cut pineapple 

Perusing a local Wegmans online shows that a whole pineapple, which weighs approximately 2lbs, costs $3.49. Pre-cut pineapple rings up at $4.09 for just 10 oz. 

That’s $3.49 for 32 oz of pineapple, or $4.09 for 10 oz. 

Sure, whole pineapples have some extra weight. The fronds and skin are inedible, and should be discarded. Even if we generously estimate that the inedible portions weigh in at 10 oz, the whole pineapple is still a much better value. At this store, a whole pineapple costs about 15¢ cents per edible ounce, while the pre-cut pineapple costs 41¢ per ounce.  

It’s not that the cut pineapple is overpriced. The extra cost pays for the employees who do the work of cutting and packaging the pineapple. Customers pay a premium for the convenience. For cooks with limited mobility, or for those hoping to eat on the go, pre-cut pineapple is a good option. 

However, if you’re looking to save money or reduce packaging waste, buying a whole pineapple is an easy way to save on both. 

How to cut a whole pineapple 

Don’t be intimidated by the various spikes: it’s easy to cut a pineapple at home. 

To get started, you’ll need a cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife. 

To remove the green fronds, lay the pineapple on its side and cut a clean slice about ½ inch from the base of the fronds.  Next, cut off the rounded end of the pineapple. Just slice cleanly through the pineapple starting about a ½ inch from the base. Your pineapple should now have two flat ends.

how to cut a pineapple skin
Remove pineapple skin

Stand the pineapple on one of its newly created flat ends. It should be stable. To remove the skin, simply slice it away with long vertical cuts. Follow the shape of the pineapple, and cut all the way around.

Next, cut the pineapple into three slabs and remove the core. Looking down at the pineapple, imagine a triangle surrounding the core. With your knife, slice along one side of the imaginary triangle. Repeat along a second side. You should now have one remaining plank of pineapple with the core attached. Use your knife to cut the core away, as shown below. 

Remove pineapple core
Remove pineapple core

You should now have three slabs of pineapple. Working one at a time, lay each slab on its flat end. Slice vertically into three long spears. Keeping the spears together, slice crosswise about 1 inch intervals to create pineapple wedges. 

Save money and packaging waste by buying whole pineapples.
Cut pineapple into chunks

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.

How to Make the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Perfectly Crispy Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The grilled cheese plays varied roles in our lives–it may be the lunchtime diner order: two slices of white bread with gooey American cheese. It may be the late-night snack: leftover whole wheat with slices of Swiss eaten after a stressful day, à la The Devil Wears Prada. And, more and more often, it maybe be gourmet: great artisan bread, imported cheese, and fresh vegetables.

That’s the situation here. We matched slices of sourdough bread with Danish fontina cheese, which melts into an extraordinarily gooey filling. We’ve also stuffed summer heirloom tomatoes, spicy leaves of rocket, and rings of red onion in between the bread.

Delicious as they are, the ingredients aren’t everything in a grilled cheese. There’s technique too. You’ve got to get the bread crispy at the same rate as the cheese melts. You’ve got to use enough fat–butter or olive oil–in the pan so that the bread gets really golden. Below, we’re rounded up our tips for making great grilled cheese sandwiches. As if that weren’t enough, we asked our facebook fans for their tips on crafting the perfect grilled cheese. Read on to become a sandwich pro!

Grilled Cheese Toppings & Pan Grilling

Our Tips for Making the Best Grilled Cheese

The Best Cheese for Grilled Cheese

Cheese is arguably the most important ingredient in this sandwich. Use a melty cheese for the best results. For a flavor, fontina and gruyere are two of our favorite options. For pure meltiness and nostalgia, American Cheese is the answer. Avoid soft cheeses like goat cheese and feta, which don’t melt easily.

The Best Bread for Grilled Cheese

When it comes to bread, any loaf that you like will work well. What matters most is how you prepare if. For the best results, toast your bread first. A quick toast will help your bread develop the golden edges and luscious crisp that you’re after. It’ll also help prevent the bread from getting soggy, no matter how many fillings you add.

Apply Pressure

Press down on the sandwich with your spatula. This flattens the exterior against the hot pan, ensuring even cooking.

Fillings for Grilled Cheese

Add flavor with great filling ingredients, like fresh or sautéed vegetables, avocado slices, bacon, or pesto. Hearty fillings can transform this simple sandwich from snack into dinner. Try the recipes below for inspiration.

Recipes

Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese with Butter Lettuce Salad & Creamy Fig Dressing

Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese with Butter Lettuce Salad & Creamy Fig Dressing

Sweet Pepper & Fig Grilled Cheese with Butter Lettuce & Peach Salad

Sweet Pepper & Fig Grilled Cheese with Butter Lettuce & Peach Salad

Muffuletta-Style Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Baby Romaine & Pistachio Salad

Muffuletta-Style Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Baby Romaine & Pistachio Salad

Fan Favorite tips

  • The best grilled cheese has a THIN layer of mayo on the grilled-sides of both pieces of bread instead of butter. No grease, crispier bread, and meltier cheese! -Alyssa Kevlahan
  • Melt butter in the microwave, then brush the bread before putting it on the pan. Makes for the perfect medium browning throughout. Can use olive oil, in place of butter. But butter is better! -Christopher Perusse
  • Sounds weird but bread and butter pickles and potato chips- on the sandwich. Yum! -Danni Skaricki
  • Dijon mustard and multi-grain or sourdough bread. -Jane Rizza Scammon
  • My son’s grilled cheese trick, at the age of 8, was to toast his bread in the toaster. Butter both sides of both bread slices, place cheese between the bread slices and microwave for 40 seconds. He made me one once, it was actually pretty good. -Doug Riggle

Tips & Tricks on How to Make a Stir-Fry

Stir-fry will always be there for you. If your goal is to cook slightly more, knowing your way around a stir-fry is a great place to start. This versatile dinner can be made with an infinite combination of ingredients. You don’t even need to start with rice. Stir-fries can be built on noodles, rice, or other grains. Here’s how to master making a stir-fry out of whatever you have on hand. 

Stir-Fried Tofu & Vegetables with Spicy Sesame-Peanut Sauce
Stir-Fried Tofu & Vegetables
with Spicy Sesame-Peanut Sauce

What is stir-frying?

Stir-frying is a high-heat cooking technique, similar to sauteing. Traditionally, a stir-fry is made in a wok with a small amount of oil. The meat and vegetables are tossed and stirred until they are cooked. 

Stir-frying in a Wok

If you have one, a wok is an excellent tool for stir-frying. The high, sloping walls are designed so that food can be tossed vigorously without flying out of the pan. The walls also make it easier to cook multiple foods at once. Once an ingredient has finished cooking, it can be push up to walls and kept warm while another ingredient cooks in the center. 

Steps for making a good stir-fry

Set up your station

Stir-fries cook VERY quickly. You’ll want to have everything prepped and ready so you can focus on the cooking once you start. Gather all of your utensils and chop everything into a bite-sized piece. It will cook faster and make for a better eating experience. 

Don’t add too much to the wok or skillet at once 

If you overcrowd the pan, the moisture from the vegetables will cause the stir-fry to steam rather than fry or saute. 

Add foods to the pan according to cook time  

For example, don’t put broccoli in the pan at the same time as a snow pea. By the time the broccoli is cooked through, the snow pea will turn to mush. The heartier the produce, the longer it will take to cook. You can add things together that have the same cooking time. 

Best oil for a stir-fry

Use oil with a high smoke point. You want to cook with high-heat, so choose an oil that can complement that. Canola oil, peanut oil (though that potentially introduces an allergen) or grapeseed oil are all good options. Olive oil has a low smoke point, and isn’t the best choice for a stir-fry. 

How to make any kind of stir-fry

Use this template as a handy guide. 

Add meat first

  • As the meat caramelizes, it will build ‘fond’ in the pan that will flavor the rest of the dish. Set the meat aside while you cook the rest of the ingredients.

Cook vegetables next, as these usually take the longest.

  • Start with heartier vegetables like carrots or broccoli.
  • Lighter vegetables, like spinach, cabbage, or even bean sprouts, can be thrown in at the end to soften and wilt.
  • Don’t forget abut aromatics! Garlic, ginger and scallions should be added with the vegetables.

Mix in your eggs

  • If you’re including scrambled eggs, take the vegetables out of the pan and pour in the beaten eggs to quickly scramble them. If you’re working with a wok, you may be able to just move the vegetables to the side of the pan instead of taking them out completely

Cooked rice or noodles & sauce

  • Rice, noodles, or any other starches should be precooked. When you’re stirring everything together at this point, it’s just to quickly heat through. 
  • The sauce will thicken as it cooks, so don’t leave it on too long, unless you’re looking to thicken it up. 
  • If you want to crisp up the rice or noodles, add the sauce after. If you want to prevent sticking, add the sauce at the same time to help it all evenly coat. 

For more easy, healthy weeknight dinners, check out Blue Apron’s limited-time menu from chef Sam Kass.

How To Make Restaurant-Style Crispy Hash Browns at Home

Lori Yates, from Foxes Love Lemons has worked with some of the country’s best chefs. Her tips will help make you a faster, better, and more confident cook. Her post today is all about mastering the process of making crispy hash browns at home–exactly the type you’d get in a diner. Pair them with one of our homemade breakfast recipes.

grated potatoes for hash browns
Grated russet potatoes

Before I went to culinary school, I was just terrible at making breakfast. I could cook a perfect steak, make salad dressings from scratch, and bake a homemade chocolate cake. But ask me to cook breakfast, and you’d get a comically, ridiculously bad meal. Eggs were overcooked. Toast was burnt. And the biggest offense: hash browns were soggy. I now know that my problem was stirring. You shouldn’t stir if you want crispy hash browns.

My school must have realized that lots of cooks struggle with the first meal of the day, as the second class in my curriculum was “Breakfast & Pantry.” The “pantry” portion was a quick week of making salads and sandwiches, but breakfast cookery was the main event.

The hash brown station came with a handout that said “HASH BROWNS: Daily Required Objectives.” In the interest of saving breakfast nationwide, let’s walk through them so you, too, can make restaurant-quality breakfast spuds at home.

Steps to Make Crispy Hash Browns

Pre-Cook the Potatoes

Your first task is to pre-cook the potatoes. Allow for one large Russet potato for every two people you need to serve. Leave the skin on, wash them, poke a few holes with a fork, and either bake them in the oven or zap them in the microwave until they are just tender. This step can be done a few days in advance. When they’re tender, just throw them in the fridge, uncovered.

Prepare Potatoes for Frying

When you’re ready to get your hash browns on, peel the cooled potatoes (or leave the skin on if your prefer) and grate them on the largest opening of a box grater. Grab a nonstick skillet and coat it with a little bit of olive oil or butter.

crispy hash brown ingredients
Grated potatoes, ready to fry

How to Cook the Hash Browns

Heat the skillet to medium-high heat, then sprinkle in your grated potatoes in one even layer. You want to make a layer that is no more than 1-inch thick, so work in batches (or multiple skillets) if necessary.

As soon as your potatoes are in the skillet, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Do not disturb them until they are dark golden brown on the bottom. NO STIRRING. You can gently lift up one edge of the potatoes to check on them occasionally.

Using a large plate that covers the skillet, flip the potato cake and return it to the pan.

flipping hash browns

Increase the heat to medium-high again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until this side is dark golden brown, and you’re done!

crispy hash browns

Transfer to a serving plate (or use the plate you utilized for the flip). Garnish with parsley if you desire, but I’m usually way too lazy on Sunday morning for that. Cut into wedges and serve your guests restaurant-quality crispy hash browns.

Why Are My Cookies Flat?

stacked flat cookies
Classic vs. flat chocolate chip cookies

It’s happened to everyone. Your pans were prepared and your expectations were high, but for some reason, your cookies came out flat. What happened?

There are a few possible explanations for flat cookies. Before you start over, run through this list. Remember: don’t be too hard on yourself! There’s no use crying over a flat cookie. 

Your butter or dough wasn’t cold enough 

Butter keeps cookies fluffy in two ways. First, creaming cold butter with sugar creates tiny, uniform air pockets that will remain in the dough it bakes up. Second, cold butter naturally takes a longer time to melt in the oven. When butter melts, the water content evaporates into the dough, giving it body and lightness. Melted butter doesn’t have the opportunity to do that since its water content has evaporated before it was even mixed into the dough. If a recipe does call for melted butter, be sure to refrigerate the dough before baking it to elongate the spreading process. To avoid this problem, don’t leave your dough sitting out on the counter for too long before baking.

Your leavening agent is expired

Let’s admit it: going through a whole box of baking soda or powder can take YEARS, and with most dry ingredients, it can be hard to visibly tell if they’re expired. Things like grains and even flour can last on the shelf for longer than we care to admit, but items with active ingredients expire more quickly, with more detriment. If you followed all the cookie recipe directions to a T and still ended up with flat cookies, check to see if your leavening agent. If it’s expired, try replacing it.

flat cookies

The recipe doesn’t call for enough (or any) brown sugar 

Having the right balance of white to brown sugar is key for a cookie’s flavor and texture. Brown sugar takes longer to dissolve, so it creates nice pockets of air in the dough as it melts, similar to cold butter. While white sugar’s lightness is great for beating into (read: fluffing up) cold butter, it also melts and caramelizes quickly, which creates a thin, crispy exterior. 

You’re not using enough flour 

Without sufficient flour, there is nothing to absorb or hold onto all the fat and liquid from your eggs and butter, causing the dough to spread as soon as it hits the oven. Think back: were you counting your cups carefully? Sometimes it’s easy to miss a scoop. 

You’re baking at a higher altitude 

At a higher altitude, the air pressure is lower, which means liquids evaporate faster (and leavening happens quicker), and goods take longer to bake. Following low-altitude directions, a cookie would over expand and dry out before it’s cooked through, so try increasing the oven temperature by 20°F and decreasing the baking time.

Can you still eat a flat cookie?

You’re welcome to try! Depending on what went wrong, the cookie may be slightly oily or have a tough texture.

How to Fix a Broken Sauce

So, it happened. You walked away for too long, or turned the heat up too high, and suddenly you’re left with a separated (or broken) sauce. Don’t fret! Blue Apron chef Emily Ziemski is here with some key steps you can take before, during, and after making your sauce to make sure that it will be a smashing success.

how to fix a broken sauce
Don’t break your beurre blanc!

What is a broken sauce?

“Breaking” can only happen when you’re making an emulsified sauce, like a hollandaise or a beurre blanc. Instead of a velvety emulsion, where the droplets of fat are suspended in liquid, a broken sauce has separated back out into liquid and fat. A sauce on the brink of separating will show little fat droplets forming around the edges. A fully broken sauce will look distinctly separated (like it’s two different sauces), very liquidy (or loose), or grainy. 

How can I fix a broken sauce?

  1. Add a little liquid––if you’re just beginning to notice signs of breaking––droplets of fat forming around the edges of the pot or pan––don’t add any more fat, but revert back to adding just a teaspoon or two of your ‘base’ liquid (water, broth, vinegar, etc), and keep judiciously stirring or whisking until the sauce tightens up again.
  2. Work over consistent heat––sometimes a big jump in temperature can cause the emulsion to break and separate. While cooking, keeping the heat low and slow can keep your sauce happy and together!
  3. Add a little fat back––a classic emulsified sauce is typically a 1:1 ratio of fat to liquid! If your sauce is breaking but is also very thin, vigorously whisking in a little fat (butter, egg yolk) can bring it around. 
  4. Whisk whisk whisk––sometimes all a sauce needs is a little zhuzhing to come back together. If the sauce starts breaking while you’re making it, don’t add any more ingredients, just turn down the heat and give it a good whisking until the ingredients re-emulsify. 
  5. Warm it up––if a finished sauce sits for too long, it loses heat and stability, which can threaten the structure of the sauce! Reheating it slowly while consistently stirring or whisking can whip your sauce back into main dish shape.
  6. Start from scratch––don’t throw out your broken sauce, but start your base anew, then slowly combine the two sauces over heat. Voila! Now you have a little extra sauce. 

How can I prevent this from happening to my future sauces?

  1. Add a thickener while you’re making it–– adding cornstarch or flour to the liquid before adding (be sure to get out any clumps) can add some stability to your sauce.
  2. Temper your ingredients–– to avoid shocking the sauce (adding a cold ingredient to a hot sauce), you can take some of your sauce and spoon it into whatever ingredient you’re adding next. Whisk to combine, and then slowly pour in the tempered mixture! Shock avoided!
  3. Reduce your acids–– if your sauce is acid-based and also has a dairy component (eg: beurre blanc), make sure that the acidic liquid (wine, vinegar) is fully reduced in the pan before adding any dairy!
  4. Never bring a dairy-based sauce to a boil; this can cause them to curdle.

Blue Apron makes learning new cooking techniques easy. Sign up for ingredients and step-by-step instructions delivered to your door.

What to Do If You Don’t Have a Grill

adapt grilling recipe for indoors

The char of the grill is the indisputable flavor of summer. Unfortunately, we don’t all have grills. The good news is that Blue Apron grilling recipes are still delicious when you prepare them indoors. With the right tools and a few preparation tweaks, you’ll be able to adapt any grilling recipe to replicate the flavors of the grill in the comfort of your home. 

How to adapt a grilling recipe for meat 

When it comes to making a grilled recipe indoors, the approach will vary depending on what you’re preparing. For protein, you want to make sure the meat is properly cooked, and that you recreate a bit of the caramelized flavor where possible. If you’re craving those iconic char marks, a good grill pan will help.

If you do have a grill pan, you can mostly follow the grilling instructions as written. Just be sure to heat the pan thoroughly before you get started. 

After a grill pan, the best choice for adapting a grill recipe is a cast iron skillet. This heavy pan is beloved for its ability to retain and distribute heat, which makes it a good choice for approximating the high-heat of the grill. 

For a nonstick pan, choose medium-high heat, and use the following cook times as a guideline. For items like burgers or steaks, just cook to your desired doneness. 

Shrimp: 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally

Chicken breast: 6-7 minutes per side

Chicken thigh: 5-7 minutes per side

Pork: 4-6 minutes per side

Beyond burger: 3-5 min per side

How to adapt a grilling recipe for fruits and vegetables 

For grilled fruits and vegetables like onions or peppers, the best alternative is simply to medium dice and sauté until tender in a nonstick pan. 

If your recipe calls for making a foil packet, you can use the oven instead of a grill. Just follow the steps of the recipe, then place the packet in a 450°F oven until the vegetables are tender. 

For corn on the cob, the solution is to boil them. Although this method won’t create the same charred exterior, it actually has a few advantages. Boiling corn is faster than the grill. Your cleaned cobs will only require about 2-3 minutes in a pot. Another perk: boiling gives you an opportunity to flavor the inside of the corn kernels. Salt the water before you add the corn, and the corn will absorb the flavor. 

For more summer grilling inspiration, check out the Blue Apron guide to grilling. 

A Guide to Gastrique

making a tomato gastrique

Gastrique is a classic French sauce. It’s sweet, sour, and intensely flavored, similar to an Italian agrodolce

A gastrique is an easy way to make any meal feel special. Even the word feels elevated, announce it confidently, and you’ll sound like a trained French Chef. With a gastrique, even a simple Sunday dinner of roasted chicken and potatoes will feel like it came from a fancy restaurant.

How to Make a Gastrique 

There are hundreds of ways to make a gastrique, but they all have a sweet and sour component. The sweet element typically comes from fruit and sugar, and the sour component is usually a vinegar. 

A classic gastrique is made by caramelizing sugar in a pan, and then dissolving that caramel with a vinegar or other acidic liquid, in a process known as deglazing. These two elements are then cooked together along with other flavorings like shallots or garlic. The final sauce is often pureed and reduced until it is very smooth and thick. 

How to Serve a Gastrique 

Sweet and sour are both excellent at amplifying the other flavors around them. That means that this classic sauce is an excellent complement to all sorts of food. The tart sweetness will bring some zippy life to rich meats, or anything with a little bit of char. 

Chef Roy Yamaguchi uses a variation on the gastrique to create his Sweet and Sour Chicken with a Tomato Gastrique. His technique blends classic French cooking with Asian-inspired flavors to create a dish that’s refined and full of flavor. 

Try this recipe at home to see first-hand why this technique is a culinary classic.

Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Sweet & Sour Chicken
with Tomato Gastrique & Ramen Noodles

Recipe: Tomato Gastrique 

  • 1 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsps Rice Vinegar
  • 4 oz Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion 
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tbsps Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Bird’s Eye Chile Pepper
  1. In a nonstick pan, combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. 
  1. Heat the water to boiling on medium-high. Once boiling, cook, stirring or gently swirling the pan frequently, 1 to 2 to minutes, or until the sugar begins to caramelize. 
  1. Add the vinegar (carefully, as the mixture will bubble up). Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the halved tomatoes, diced onion, chopped garlic, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and as much of the sliced pepper as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. 
  1. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until combined and the liquid is thickened. 

Sign up for Blue Apron to try this recipe and others like it delivered to your door.

What is Agrodolce?

Agrodolce is somewhere between a sauce and a condiment. It comes from Italy, and it gets its name from the Italian words for sour (agro) and sweet (dolce). 

Seared Steaks & Sesame Mashed Potatoes with Charred Shishito Agrodolce & Bok Choy
Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Seared Steaks
with Charred Shishito Agrodolce & Bok Choy

How to make Agrodolce 

This sticky sauce is made by reducing sour and sweet elements. Traditional Italian preparations are often based on vinegar and sugar, which are boiled down until they form a sticky, caramelized sauce. Sometimes other flavorings are added, like fruit or vegetables. The key to a successful preparation is keeping your eye on the pan. You want to cook the sauce enough so that it will thicken, but not let it go so long that you end up with a pan full of caramel.

To try this at home, borrow some tips from Chef Roy Yamaguchi. He created a twist on the classic using fresh orange juice, honey, and vinegar. This tangy sauce brings all the sweet and sour elements of the classic, with an additional fruity complexity. It’s the perfect pairing for seared steak and vegetables. It transforms this steak and potato dinner from steakhouse standby to memorable favorite. Get the recipe here.

How to use Agrodolce 

Agrodolce is packed with intense flavor. Its hint of sweetness and burst of acidity will enhance the flavors of any dish. It’s a great complement to charred flavors, roasted meats, or noodle dishes. 

Sign up for a Blue Apron box delivered straight to your home to try other recipes like the ones mentioned here.

3 Tips for the Best Possible Burgers

Burgers are a simple pleasure, but sometimes making them can feel complicated. Even though they don’t have many steps or ingredients, a little technique will go a long way in helping you prepare a delicious burger.

Tips for Cooking Burgers

Tip 1: Dimple the patty. When you begin to cooking a burgers, either on the grill or on a stovetop, the high heat causes the strands of protein to contract. This makes the patty itself shrink and plump up. This is a normal part of the cooking process, but if you’re not careful, it can result in globe-shaped burgers. To prevent your patties from getting too round, just press down lightly in the middle. The goal is to make a dimple in the center of the meat that will fill out when cooked. This way, it’s easier to build a stable burger in the end. 

Preparing the Burger for Cooking - Dimple Process

Tip 2: Mix gently and season well. For the most flavorful burger, season the meat twice. First, season the meat mixture and stir gently to combine. Be sure to not to over-mix; working the meat too much can lead to a tough burger. Just a few stirs to incorporate the seasoning will do the trick. Second, season the outside of the patties after you form them. By seasoning both the outside and inside of the patty you’ll get a burger with a flavorful crust and a tender bite. 

Adding Salt & Pepper to the Burger Patty

Tip 3: Keep the bun handy. Nothing is more disappointing than taking a burger off of the grill and realizing it’s smaller than the buns. To prevent this tragedy, keep the buns nearby while you’re shaping burger patties. Use the shape of the bun as a size-guide, but remember: proteins contract. Make the patties a little bigger than the buns and they’ll shrink down to size. 

Shaping the Burger Patty for Cooking

Ready to try out these techniques? Take your burger experience to the next level with Blue Apron’s elevated craft burger.

A Guide to Homemade Salad Dressing

how to make salad dressing

There are two types of salads: sad salads and scene-stealing salads. A sad salad is one that was thrown together without a real plan. Its sole purpose is to deliver a few vegetables, but it lacks flavor and excitement. A scene-stealing salad is one that just might outshine the main dish. It’s packed with good ingredients, and topped off with a delicious salad dressing. The easiest way to ensure you’re making exciting salads at home is with a good homemade salad dressing recipe. If you learn how to make salad dressing at home, then even the simplest salads will feel like a treat. Follow these tips from Blue Apron Chef Ramell Chambers.

How to make salad dressing 

how to whisk salad dressing

Homemade salad dressing is way better than anything you buy, which is why we’re showing you how to make nearly any dressing at home. All you need to get started is a jar with a lid or mixing bowl and a whisk.

Vinegar for salad dressings

At their most basic, salad dressings are made up of vinegar, or another acid, and oil. The standard oil to vinegar ratio is 3:1, but some oils and vinegars are stronger. We use red wine or white wine vinegar in our everyday dressings. When we’re craving something different, Champagne and sherry vinegar offer a bit more personality, as does balsamic. You can also use lime juice or lemon juice, or even the juice from a freshly squeezed orange. Depending on how much you like vinegar or lemon juice, you can cut the acidity in two ways: adding more oil or throwing in a pinch of salt.

Oil for salad dressings 

You really taste the oil in salad dressings, so opt for your most delicious, high-quality oil. We always use extra virgin olive oil in our dressings. If you’re looking to shake things up, you can look out for fun oils at your local specialty store. Walnut or sesame oil can change the flavor profile of your dressing. You can also experiment with other fats, like rendered duck or bacon fat. We always say to add oil to your taste, so really do try the dressing as you go. The best way to sample your dressing while it’s in progress is to dip in a lettuce leaf and take a bite. 

How to make a creamy salad dressing 

For a creamier salad dressing, you can whisk in a spoonful or mayonnaise, sour cream, or greek yogurt. Add some grated parmesan, and you’ll have a good approximation of a Caesar salad dressing. 

How to mix salad dressings 

The goal of mixing a salad dressing is to create an emulsion. That means that tiny drops of oil are suspended in the vinegar, so that the mixture appears smooth and homogenous. This is easy to do by vigorously whisking in a bowl, or by shaking. To shake, just combine all of your ingredients in a jar, screw the lid on tightly, and firmly shake for 10-15 seconds. You can store any leftover dressing in the same jar. 

How to flavor salad dressings 

After you’ve picked your oil and vinegar, it’s time for the fun part. Adding some herbs or other flavorings will take your salad to the next level. 

You can add finely chopped aromatics like garlic, shallots, or herbs. We like to mince shallot finely, and cut garlic even more finely so that it turns into a paste. To mellow the taste a bit, we usually marinate the shallot or garlic in vinegar for 10-15 minutes before serving. To get creative, try roasted garlic, pickled shallots, or charred scallions. When in doubt, a spoonful of mustard will add a ton of flavor. 

Tips for homemade salad dressing

  • Mason jars are your friend, they’re inexpensive and seal tightly.
  • Try experimenting with alternatives to oils like rendered duck or bacon fat
  • If you’re using dried herbs in your dressing, allow them to soften and saturate in the dressing for at least 5-10 minutes before serving
  • Always make a little extra. Leftover dressing is great for dips or future meals.
  • Mustard (dijon, whole grain) is a salad dressing secret weapon.  It packs huge flavor and helps to keep everything emulsified
  • Don’t forget to season your dressing with salt and pepper!
  • Salad dressing will keep for about a week in the fridge

A Guide to Crispy Garlic

Crispy garlic is beautiful and delicious. The instructions for making crispy garlic seem simple, but this process definitely requires your full attention. If your pan gets too hot, or you look away at the wrong moment, your garlic chips will go from golden brown to bitter and burnt.

These savory, golden flakes are a great way to add texture and depth to vegetables, noodles, and rice dishes. Chef Roy Yamaguchi uses crispy garlic to add a special touch to his recipe for Soy-Ginger Marinated Shrimp. Follow our tips below to make perfect crispy garlic every time. 

green beans and rice with crispy garlic

Tips for making crispy garlic 

Set yourself up for success 

Before you turn on the stove, assemble all of your cooking tools. Have a spatula or fork nearby, and have a towel-lined plate ready next to your frying pan. This way you’ll be ready to spring into action as soon as your garlic starts to brown.

how to make crispy garlic

Use a nonstick pan 

Thin slices of garlic have a lot of surface area. This makes them susceptible to sticking. Using a nonstick pan and agitating your garlic with a wooden spoon will help prevent your garlic from getting stuck.

Control the heat

Keep the heat on medium-low. High temperatures will increase the risk of burning your delicate garlic.  

Don’t walk away 

Seriously! Don’t go turn on the TV, don’t chop a different ingredient, don’t even fill up a cup with water. Once the browning starts, things will happen very quickly. 

Err on the side of light 

If you wait until the garlic is perfectly browned, the last pieces will be burnt by the time you get them out of the pan. Look for a light brown ring around the exterior, then you can start removing slices from the pan. 

Add salt after cooking 

Resist the urge to season your garlic slices before you add them to the pan. Adding salt will draw moisture out of the garlic and prevent it from crisping. Instead, add a dash of salt once the slices are done browning. 

How to make crispy garlic 

In a nonstick pan, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 thinly sliced cloves of garlic. Heat on medium-low. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 6 minutes, or until the garlic is lightly browned and crispy. Turn off the heat. Leaving the garlic oil in the pan, using a slotted spoon or fork, immediately transfer the garlic to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.

use crispy garlic in rice

What to do with crispy garlic 

Crispy garlic can be sprinkled on top of vegetable dishes or grilled fish. It’s also a tasty way to add crunchy texture to salads or rice dishes. Once you’ve mastered this technique, you can use the same principals to make crispy shallots.