How To Salt Water for Pasta & Other Dishes

How much salt to add to cooking water

When boiling, poaching, or blanching, it’s important to season your cooking water. It’s easy to skip this step, but doing so is a missed opportunity. Adding salt to cooking water seasons the inside of your food, whether you’re making noodles or beans. This is science at work. Osmosis transports water into and out of cells. As the cooking water enters the food, it brings salt with it, flavoring the inside of whatever you’re cooking. How much salt to add to cooking water depends on your ingredients and preparation method.

As a general rule, the shorter the cooking time, the more salt you should add to your cooking water. Keep in mind that not all salt is the same size. Kosher salt has large, flaky crystals, while table salt has fine grains. A teaspoon of table salt contains significantly more flavoring power than a teaspoon of kosher salt. If you were to swap salts without adjusting measurements, you’d risk over or under seasoning your dish. If a recipe calls for table salt, you substitute kosher salt if you increase the amount by ¼ teaspoon per teaspoon. 

When blanching vegetables like green beans or peas, the ingredients will only be submerged in the liquid for a few minutes. This doesn’t give them a lot of time to absorb salt. To accomplish proper seasoning, the cooking water should be extremely salty. For 5 quarts of water, add ½ cup of salt to achieve the best flavor. If you were to taste the water directly it would be unpalatable, but when the vegetables come out they will have a mild and savory flavor. 

When it comes to pasta water, Serious Eats suggests that the ideal salinity is 1-2%, depending on your taste preferences. This translates to 1 ½ teaspoons of salt per liter of water. The average pasta pot has a 6-8 quart capacity. If it’s filled three quarters full, you’re using 4-5 quarts of water. To achieve 1% salinity, you’d need to use 2.3 Tablespoons of table salt in 5 quarts of water. A liter is slightly smaller than a quart, but don’t bother getting too caught up in the conversions. Use this rule as a guideline, and don’t add significantly less. 

For boiling potatoes, you’ll need a lot of salt. Most potatoes are very mild, and thoroughly seasoning them will bring out their best flavor. Season with 1 tsp of table salt per pound of potato. 

When it comes to dried beans, the advice is mixed. Some sources say to avoid adding salt until the end of the cooking process to achieve the best texture. When we’re cooking, flavor is our primary goal. To season your beans while cooking, add 1 tsp of table salt per pound of dried beans along with enough water to cover them. 

Proper seasoning during every step of the process is the best way to ensure a flavorful dinner. Once you’re done cooking, don’t toss that water! Check out our guide to pasta water for more ideas.

How to Roast Almonds

This guide to almonds was contributed by Nikki Miller-Ka. Nikki is a culinary expert and social media influencer based in North Carolina. A former associate editor at Food And Wine, her favorite things to cook are tacos and biscuits. 

Depending on how they’re prepared, almonds can be slightly sweet, rich and toasty, or mild and buttery. This versatile ingredient can be the golden brown star of a dish, or it can subtly enhance a recipe as a garnish. Almonds have a high oil content, giving them a long shelf life when handled and stored properly. Whole, sliced, diced, slivered, ground, chopped, or blanched—almonds add flavor and texture to just about any savory or sweet recipe.

All almonds taste nuttier and richer when they’re roasted. Roasting almonds brings their natural oils to the surface, and also crisps up the bronze, papery skins. Roasting nuts deepens their flavor, rendering them richer, nuttier, and more complex. It also gives them a crispier texture that shines in many recipes. There are two ways to roast almonds: in the oven or in a frying pan. Read on for instructions for both methods.

How to roast almonds

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Place almonds in a single layer on the sheet. To enhance browning, it’s optional to use a neutral oil and drizzle a small amount (1-2 teaspoons total) over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. Roast whole almonds in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, sliced almonds for 5-7 minutes, and slivered almonds for 6-8 minutes. Place in the oven and check every 5 minutes. 

Stir and shake the pan so that the nuts are redistributed to roast evenly. When the nuts are browned and smell nutty, remove them from the oven and immediately transfer to a work surface or an unheated baking sheet to cool. The nuts will continue to cook and potentially burn if not removed to a cool surface. 

To toast a small number of almonds, use a frying pan. Place the nuts in a single layer in a small dry skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes until they start to smell nutty and they look golden. Pay attention to the pan closely as pan-roasted almonds burn easily on the spots in contact with the pan.

romesco sauce ingredients with roasted almonds

Try this romesco sauce recipe using roasted whole almonds. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

What are blanched almonds?

Blanched almonds are almonds with the skin removed. Blanching refers to briefly submerging the almonds in boiling water to loosen and remove the skins. Without skins, almonds have a shorter shelf-life but can still be roasted or processed to make almond meal, milk, or flour.

How to blanch almonds

There are two common methods for blanching almonds: an overnight soak or a 5-minute boil. Be sure to dry the almonds thoroughly after blanching in a single layer on paper towels or on dish towels. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place. 

Overnight Soaking Method

Place almonds in a bowl. Fill it with cold water just until they are fully submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or a loose-fitting lid, and let it sit under refrigeration overnight. Drain the water from the bowl. Gently squeeze the almonds to loosen their skins—they should slip off easily. Compost the discarded skins.

Boiling Method

Fill a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, add the almonds to the saucepan. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let them rest for 2 minutes. Drain the water from the pan into a colander as soon as the skins become wrinkled. Rinse the almonds under cold water and gently squeeze the almonds to loosen their skins immediately. Start peeling the skins while the almonds are still warm—as they cool down it will become more difficult to remove the skins. 

Try this Tangy Sweet Meyer Lemon Almond Tart recipe with blanched almonds. The crust will become brown, nutty and pair perfectly with the bright, fresh meyer lemon filling.

8 Types of Peaches to Love this Summer

The platonic ideal of a peach, enhanced by nostalgia, comes enormous, round, and bursting with juice that tastes of summer sunshine. But while all types of peaches are good peaches, that image leaves out the many other equally delightful forms the fuzzy fruit takes on: crisp enough to add that cherished sweetness to a salad or palm-sized and perfect for snacking. 

When Are Peaches in Season?

What the stereotype gets right, though, is the timing: peaches are a quintessential summer fruit, coming into season starting in May and peaking around the country in June, July, and August, before tapering out through the fall and ending in October. 

How Can You Tell a Peach is Ripe?

The color of a peach is a great indicator of its ripeness, but not in the way most people think: though the attractive red blushing looks nice, it only indicates if your peach got a mild sunburn or not. The real key to finding a ripe peach is looking around the stem and making sure no green tinge remains. While you check that area, look for the first hints of wrinkles on the skin near the stem—that indicates it is perfectly ripe. 

Pick up the peach gently to check the texture. It should have a little give—or a lot, if you want that dripping-down-the-chin level of ripeness. Finally, use the best tool for the job: sniff your peach. It should smell just like that wonderful syrupy flavor you hope to find inside. 

How to Remove a Peach Pit

The best way to remove a peach pit is to eat around the pit until none of the flesh remains. But that works less well if you plan to cut or slice it for salads, sauces, or sweet desserts. In those cases, the secret to cutting a peach comes in cutting it around its equator. Slice through the flesh to the pit all the way around the middle, then hold the top half with the stem in one hand and the bottom half in the other and twist them in opposite directions. Then repeat the process with the half in which the pit remains. The pit will pull out easily from the quartered peach—and you’ll be ready to start dicing or chopping.


As the name implies, freestone peaches are less attached to their pits, which makes them useful in sliced preparations, like Fontina and Peach Grilled Cheese. They also tend to be larger than clingstone varieties, and less juicy, which makes them terrific for baking.


Clingstone peaches are smaller, juicier, and more difficult to get the pit out of, so rarely end up looking as nice once you do. But plenty of great peach dishes end up cooking the peach anyway, like in Seared Chicken in Coconut-Peach Broth, so nobody can even tell—and the added sweetness of these peaches makes it worth the grapple-factor.

Semi Freestone 

This hybrid of the two main types of peaches aims to bring the best of both varieties into a single peach: big, juicy, and easy to separate from the pit. With this versatility, it can easily be used in any type of dish, in nice large wedges for a Cherry Tomato and Peach Panzanella or diced small for a Peach Salsa to go with Spice Rubbed Pork Medallions

Melting Peaches 

Melting flesh peaches ripen quickly into super-soft, buttery smooth fruit that, as the trope goes, need to be eaten over the sink. Messy and delightful, they tend to work best eaten out of hand or used in a sauce that doesn’t depend on the peach for texture, like Chicken and Honey-Glazed Peach.

Non-Melting Peaches

Non-melting peaches retain their structure as they ripen, gradually becoming less firm but holding their shape. All non-melting peaches are clingstone peaches, though all clingstone peaches are not non-melting. Use a non-melting peach for the types of dishes where the peach shape draws the eye, like Peach and Arugula Salad to go with Seared Trout.

grilling types of peaches
Learn how to grill peaches

Types of peaches

Donut Peaches

These hybridized descendants of a very old type of peach look just like their namesakes, only with a small pit in place of the hole. The petite size and lack of acid—which makes them seem sweeter—make these a great snacking peach. This is one of our favorite types of peaches.


Most people think of nectarines as a whole different fruit, but nectarines are simply a type of peach with a genetic mutation that keeps them fuzz-free. That makes them nice for eating directly and allows bakers to leave the skin on, and they can stand in for a peach in any recipe.

Arctic Supreme 

A large creamy white and red-skinned peach with white flesh, this clingstone’s big flavor is worth the mess it takes to pry it from the pit, especially showcased in a dish like Seared Chicken with Ginger-Peach Sauce.


This semi-freestone peach with smooth skin is on the small side and is also one of the less sweet options. It has a little tartness to it, which can work well in savory preparations, like a Peach and Snap Pea Grain Bowl.

Belle of Georgia

A white freestone that grows into a big, red-blushing fruit with firm flesh, this peach makes an easy one to cut or slice for salads or use in Peach Salsa to go over Seared Chicken.

Desert Goldstone 

This medium-sized yellow clingstone peach boasts great flavor lurking below its red-blushed skin. It’s a clinger, but once it’s in your Peach Pan Sauce for Pork Chops, nobody will notice if it got a bit mangled as you pulled the pit.

Early Amber

A bright yellow-fleshed peach with medium firmness and a strong blush to the skin, this looks and tastes the part of the classic peach and holds up well as wedges, like in a Peach Caprese Salad.


Super sweet, compact, and freestone, this baseball-sized peach ripens to a rich yellow and tends to be low in acid and high in juice – great for eating whole with plenty of napkins or as the base of a grilled peach cobbler.

Learn more about other seasonal stone fruit here.

The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Tofu 

This guide to cooking with tofu was compiled by Victoria Bekiempis. Victoria is a journalist in New York City. She covers courts, crime, and cooking. 

raw styles of tofu

Tofu is one of the most versatile plant-based proteins available to home cooks. Preparing tofu dishes presents both an opportunity to recreate restaurant favorites from the comfort of your own kitchen, and to experiment with texture and flavor.  

Tofu can take the form of a light breakfast scramble or a substantial dinner stir-fry. It can be roasted for refreshing salads, or mixed into a creamy snacktime smoothie. Tofu also boasts several advantages over other meat-free proteins. It is relatively inexpensive and can be found at almost every grocery across the U.S., whereas the availability and price of prepared and frozen vegan picks can vary. 

Whether you’re new to tofu or a longtime connoisseur, this guide will explain how to shake up supper with this soy superfood. We’ll explain the ins and outs of cooking tofu—from picking the right texture to prepping it for the pan—and share our favorite recipes. If it isn’t already, we’re sure that tofu will soon become one of your weeknight staples. 

What is tofu?

Tofu, at the most basic level, is soybean curds. To make tofu, soybean milk is boiled, curdled with some sort of coagulant, such as calcium sulfate (gypsum) or magnesium chloride(nigari),and strained. Once the liquid is gone, the solids are compressed. The process is comparable to making cheese from milk, according to Serious Eats. As for taste, many people describe it differently. Some say that plain tofu doesn’t taste like anything, while others detect a slightly sour flavor.

Are there different types of tofu? 

Yes. Generally speaking, the types of uncooked tofu you will encounter at the grocery include silken, soft, medium, firm, and extra firm. Softer tofu has a higher water content, whereas firmer tofu has a lower one, according to Bon Appétit. Many groceries also sell tofu that has been cooked and seasoned, such as barbecue-style chunks or smoky grilled slices.  Some stores sell fried tofu in the refrigerator case, which can range in texture from chewy to puffy. In some parts of the US, locally made tofu is available. 

cooked tofu

How do you prepare tofu for cooking?

The first step in successfully putting together any tofu dish: figuring out which texture is best. The water content of tofu will dictate what it can be. If you want to pump up the protein in a fruit smoothie, then silken is the way to go. If you’re planning to use tofu as a hearty main for a grain bowl, then extra firm is your best bet. 

Once you have picked the best tofu for your dish, drain whatever excess water is in the packaging. With silken or soft tofu, wrap blocks in paper towel. With firmer tofus, there are a few techniques for getting water out. The DIY route is to wrap an entire block of tofu in paper towel or cheesecloth, place something heavy like a cast iron pan on top, and then wait an hour or more for liquid to drain. If you cook tofu a lot, consider purchasing a tofu press. There are different kinds of tofu presses with various mechanisms, but the gist is that once the block is cradled inside, it squeezes the water out. You can just leave the tofu press inside your fridge and use the drained block whenever you’re ready. 

How do you add flavor?

There are a few different schools of thought on adding flavor to tofu. Some cooks say that tofu absorbs the flavors of whatever spice, sauce, marinade, or topping it’s prepped with. Others say that tofu doesn’t absorb marinades and that it needs to be pan fried in order to take in the marinades.   

In general, we have always been able to flavor tofu powerfully without that pan frying-then-marinating step. The key to doing so is to remember  that tofu is a very watery blank canvas, and act accordingly. Be prepared to add more seasoning and spices than you would normally add to food. With savory tofu dishes, toss pressed chunks or slices with generous splashes of soy sauce. Then, add spices or seasonings, before adding whatever oil your recipe calls for. 

How do you cook tofu? 

Now that you’ve prepped your tofu, it’s time to do something with it! With simple shakes and sauces, cooking could be as simple as blending tofu with whatever other ingredients are required.  Several heat-based methods of cooking tofu include baking, frying, searing, and grilling.  To bake tofu, line a half-sheet pan with foil, and lightly drizzle with oil. Place pressed, seasoned cubes of extra-firm tofu on the foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn over each cube, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes, according to Gimme Some Oven. Adjust baking time to reach desired texture; the longer tofu bakes, the crispier it will be.  

Seared slices of tofu make for a great main alongside stacks of fresh roasted veggies. To do this, cut a pressed block into four lengthwise pieces. Season the pieces as desired. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium-high heat. When hot, add the pieces to the pan, so each is positioned evenly. Heat for five-to-six minutes. When browned, flip each piece and cook for another two-to-three minutes.  

Breaded-and-fried tofu is also a favorite, achieving a particularly crispy texture without the labor of deep frying. Slice pressed tofu as you would when searing. Season, coat in oil, and then dunk in breadcrumbs. Place in a pan with oil that’s at medium high heat. Cook each slice for three-to-four minutes. 

With softer tofu, heat-based cooking methods are simpler. For soups or sauces, you can add soft or silken tofu to the pan or pot. Every now and then, stir gently. The tofu will heat up, and absorb some flavor, in around three-to-five minutes. For plain heated tofu, steam or pop in the microwave for one-to-two minutes. 

Recipes we love with tofu

Mapo Doufu

Coconut-Poached Tofu

General Tso’s-Style Tofu

Stir-Fried Tofu & Vegetables

Sesame & Maple-Glazed Tofu

Tofu Katsu & Soy Mayo

Sweet & Spicy Tofu

Sweet & Spicy Tofu

Pepita & Panko-Crusted Tofu

Black Bean-Chile Tofu

Spicy Sweet & Sour Tofu

How to Make Fresh Spring Rolls

The 8 Great Things You Can Do with Tortillas, Filling, and Maybe Some Cheese

How To Get Crispy Fish Skin Every Time

crispy fish skin

What’s the best part of a golden brown roasted chicken? It’s the crispy skin of course! Now think about the rubbery skin of a poached chicken. Not as appealing, right? The same principle applies to fish skin. Many home cooks are in the habit of eating the filet and leaving the skin behind. If it’s cooked properly, crispy fish skin can add a satisfying textural contrast to your plate. 

How to get crispy fish skin every time 

If you’re cooking fish in a frying pan, it’s easy to achieve crispy fish skin at home. 

Start with the right cut of fish. Not all filets are skin-on! A thick piece of fish with the skin on and scales removed is a good place to start. The skin of popular fish like salmon and steelhead is packed with healthy fats and vitamins. 

how to cook crispy fish skin

Place your pan over medium-high heat, and be sure to let it heat thoroughly before you introduce the fish. When the fish hits the pan it will generate steam, and steam is the enemy of all things crispy! The hotter the pan, the more quickly the steam will disperse. If the pan isn’t hot enough, the slowly escaping water will steam the fish skin, leaving you with a soft and soggy product. 

Don’t be afraid to use plenty of oil. Oil will help conduct heat and it will keep the skin from sticking to the pan. A generous glug (1-2 Tablespoons) of olive oil should do the trick. 

Once it’s in the pan, resist the urge to fuss with your filet. Place the fish skin-side down in the pan and don’t move it for 3-4 minutes. This helps the sear develop and keeps the skin whole. As the skin sears and renders, any stuck bits should release from the pan. If you wait to move it until it’s thoroughly crispy, it should release from the pan without any trouble. 

After the skin is nicely crispy, the top of your fish may still look a little raw. To finish it off, you can either flip the fish and cook to your desired degree of doneness, or cover the pan with aluminum oil to trap heat until the fish is cooked through. 

Try some of our favorite recipes for crispy-skinned fish filets. 

Steelhead Trout Rice Bowls with Avocado, Bok Choy & Yuzu Kosho Mayo

crispy trout skin and rice

Seared Barramundi with Collard Greens, Fregola Sarda & Shallot Agrodolce

crispy fish skin filet on cous cous

Crispy Skin Salmon & Romesco Lentils with Sweet Peppers & Lemon Yogurt

How To Use Pasta Water to Elevate Your Sauce

sauce made with pasta water

In restaurant kitchens, pasta water is affectionately called ‘liquid gold.’ In home kitchens, many cooks just throw it out. We’re here to make a case for treating your pasta water with respect. That means seasoning it properly and taking advantage of its special properties. Here’s how to make the most of your next pasta dinner. 

Season your cooking water

Maybe you’ve heard that cooking water should be ‘as salty as the sea.’ If you haven’t tasted the sea recently, that can be a confusing rule. As a general guide, you need about 1.5 tablespoons of salt per pound of pasta. 

Why should you save that water

While your pasta is cooking, the water absorbs some of the starch from the pasta noodles. The added starch, which is the reason that the water looks a little cloudy after cooking, is what makes this product so special.It gives the water thickening power, and helps create a base for rich, smooth sauces. The water is also packed with flavor, since it’s been seasoned with salt.

seasoned pasta water
After cooking, the water looks murky because it’s full of starch

How to save pasta water

After your noodles have cooked, you’ll need to separate the pasta from the water without pouring the water down the drain. If you’re cooking long noodles like spaghetti or bucatini, you can use a pair of tongs to grab them and lift them right out of the water. Shorter noodles, like penne or rigatoni, are too small to grab with tongs. These can be fished out with a slotted spoon, or you can use a ladle to remove several big scoops of pasta water before straining the noodles in a colander. 

How to use pasta water 

Cooking water can be used to create luxurious sauces for meals like pasta al limone. The starchy water helps create smooth, emulsified sauces that are packed with flavor and perfectly coat noodles. Reserved water from cooking can also save you if something goes wrong. Is your pesto pasta feeling a little bit dry and sticky? A scoop full of starchy water can add moisture and help disperse the sauce evenly over your noodles.

Feeling inspired? Put a pot of water on the stove and get inspired by some of our favorite pasta shapes.

How To Slice Meat Against the Grain

slicing meat against the grain

When you’re serving beef dish, like zippy flank steak tacos or rich sirloin with a side of potatoes, you goal is tender meat with an enjoyable bite. To achieve the perfect texture, you need to do more than cook your protein correctly. You also need to slice the meat against the grain. This final step can make a huge difference when it comes to the overall quality of your meal. It’s not difficult—it’s just a matter of learning how to identify the grain in a piece of meat.

What is the grain in meat?

Meat is a muscle. The ‘grain’ refers to the muscle fibers, and the direction in which they run. For a tougher piece of meat, like flank or hanger steak, the grain is fairly pronounced. Tender cuts like fillet mignon have a finer grain, which can be more difficult to identify. You don’t want a long and stringy bite of meat. When you cut against the grain of the muscle, you get hundreds of tiny fibers instead of one long one. That makes the meat melt in your mouth.

How to find the grain on a piece of meat?

If you look closely at your meat after it has been cooked, you’ll see little lines running across it. That’s the grain we’re talking about. To slice meat against the grain, just hold your knife perpendicular to the grain and cut thin slices.

Next time you cook a flank, hanger, or skirt steak, check out the grain in the meat before you sear it. The grain won’t always be obvious, but if you look carefully you’ll find it. Now you’re on the path to tender, satisfying bites.

Check out a few more of our favorite steak recipes:

Ready to get cooking? Learn how to make the perfect steak.

Baked Chicken with Rhubarb and Fennel

savory chicken and rhubarb

We look forward to the appearance of rhubarb every spring. This beautiful pink vegetable (yes, it’s technically a vegetable) is so tart that it’s usually paired with sugar to to tame its tangy bite. For this reason, it’s often the star of sweet desserts like strawberry rhubarb pie, or preserves like rhubarb jam (we love this recipe). If you don’t have a sweet tooth, consider trying a savory rhubarb recipe this year.

Our recipe for combines the tangy brightness of rhubarb with the satisfying richness of baked skin-on chicken.


Savory rhubarb recipe: Baked chicken with rhubarb and fennel

For the chicken:

  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, patted dry
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head fennel, cored and thinly sliced
  •  Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

For the rhubarb:

  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 1 small lemon
  • 1 pound rhubarb, 1/2” thick slices
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 thyme sprigs

1. In a small bowl, combine salt, coriander, lemon zest, ginger, pepper and garlic paste. Rub it all over the chicken, including inside the cavity and under the skin. Stuff thyme sprigs into the cavity.

2. Place chicken on a baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish, and marinate, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

3. For the rhubarb: Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Thinly slice the lemon into rounds. Remove any seeds. Quarter lemon rounds into triangles. Blanch lemon pieces in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then drain.

4. In a 8×8” baking dish or a pie pan, toss together blanched lemons, rhubarb, sugar, ginger, coriander seeds, a pinch of salt and thyme sprigs. Let macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

5. Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and another one below. Heat oven to 425°F. Toss onions and fennel in a medium mixing bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and set aside.

6. Drizzle olive oil all over the chicken. Roast chicken on the center rack and rhubarb below for 23-25 minutes, or until rhubarb is glazed and syrupy.

7. Remove rhubarb and lower oven temperature to 400°F. Spoon some of the rhubarb syrup all over the chicken. Scatter the onion and fennel pieces around chicken on a baking sheet, then continue to roast until skin is golden and cooked through and onions are browned, about 20-25 minutes longer.

8. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with onions, fennel, rhubarb and more thyme sprigs for garnish.

Still hungry? Find more recipes like this in the Blue Apron cookbook.

How to Adapt Any Recipe for The Grill 

how to grill summer vegetables

Grilling isn’t just for hot dogs and hamburgers (don’t get us wrong, we love a good hot dog). A grill is a versatile cooking tool that can add caramelized depth and satisfying char to almost any meal. If you’re suddenly overcome with the urge to grill, almost any recipe can be adapted to work outside. 

To adapt a recipe for the grill, you might have to modify the preparation and the cooking time. Grilling works well with large pieces of vegetables or protein, as smaller chunks may fall through the grates. Smaller items like shrimp can be kept together with a skewer. Aluminum foil packets can be used to keep skinny green beans together, or to trap heat and help delicate salmon cook all the way through. 

Follow these guidelines below for adjusted cooking times.

How to adapt a recipe for meat & fish 

grilled chicken breast
Chicken Breast6 oz. skin off eachWhole7 to 8 minutesPer side165°FBrowned and cooked through
Chicken thighs3 oz skin on eachWhole5 to 6 first side, 3 to 4 second sideSkin side down165°FBrowned and cooked through
Chicken thighs6 oz skin off eachWhole5 to 6 minutesPer side165°FBrowned and cooked through
Flat Steaks5.5 oz eachWhole4 to 5 minutesPer side145°FBrowned and cooked through
Beef Medallions2.75 oz eachWhole2 to 3 minutesPer side145°FBrowned and cooked through
Bistro Steaks5.5 oz eachWhole4 to 5 minutesPer side145°FBrowned and cooked through
Ground Beef5 oz eachBurger w/ breadcrumbs6 to 7 minutesPer side160°FBrowned and cooked through
Ground Beef5 oz eachCheeseburger 6 to 7 minutesCook for 4 minutes, flip top with cheese, and cook 2-3 minutes160°FCheese is melted and the patties are cooked through
Ground Pork5 oz eachBurger w/ breadcrumbs6 to 7 minutesPer side160°FBrowned and cooked through
Ground Pork5 oz eachCheeseburger 6 to 7 minutesCook for 4 minutes, flip, top with cheese, and cook 2-3 minutes160°FCheese is melted and the patties are cooked through
Pork Chops6 oz eachWhole3 to 4 minutesPer side145°FBrowned and cooked through
Shrimp10 oz totalWhole2 to 3 minutesPer side145°FOpaque and cooked through
Salmon2 or 4 filetsWhole8 to 10 minutesFoil packet145°FCooked through
NY Strip:2-3Whole2-3Per side125°FBrowned and cooked through
Ribeye5-8Whole5-8 minutes Per side125°FBrowned and cooked through
Tenderloin6-8Whole6-8 minutes Per side125°FBrowned and cooked through

Check out our guide on how to grill protein for more ideas.

How to adapt a recipe for fruits and vegetables 

how to grill peaches
Corn1 earHusked and silked9 to 10 minutesTurn occasionallyCharred and softened / cooked through
Green Beans6 ozTrimmed5 to 6 minutesFoil packet with 2 tbsp waterSoftened
Green/Red Cabbage8 ozWhole7 to 8 minutesPer side, directly on piece of foilLightly charred
Green/Red Cabbage16 ozHalve lengthwise, keeping the root intact5 to 6 minutesPer side, directly on piece of foilLightly charred
Green/Red Cabbage1 eachThinly sliced10 to 12 minutesIn a foil packetUntil softened
Jalapeno Peppers1 eachSeeds removed, halved lengthwise3 to 4 minutesPer side, starting with cut side downCharred and softened
Martins Buns1 eachHalved30 seconds to 1 minuteCut side downLightly browned
Mini Sweet Peppers1 eachWhole, seeds removed5 to 7 minutesTurning occasionallySlightly softened
Bell Pepper1 eachHalved4 to 5 minutesPer side, starting with cut side downCharred and softened
Poblano Pepper1 eachSeeds removed, halved lengthwise4 to 5 minutesPer side, starting with cut side downCharred and softened
Peaches / Nectarines5.5 oz eachHalved, pitted3 to 5 minutesPer sideCharred and slightly softened
Red, Yellow & Sweet Onion1 eachPeeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings3 to 4 minutesPer sideCharred and softened
Romaine Heart1 eachHalved, keeping the root intact2 to 3 minutesPer side, starting with cut side downThe leaves are lightly charred
Scallions1 ozWhole2 to 3 minutesPer sideSoftened and charred
Zucchini1 eachQuartered lengthwise3 to 5 minutesPer sideLightly charred and softened
Asparagus6 oz, 12 ozWhole5 to 6 minutesFlipping halfway throughCharred and tender
Carrots6 oz, 12 ozQuartered10 to 12Turning occasionally, on foilCharred and softened
Sweet Potatoes8 oz, 16 oz1-inch wedges12 to 14 minutesTurning occasionallyCharred and tender
Golden Potatoes12 oz, 20 ozMedium dice14 to 16Foil packet with 2 tbsp waterTender
Fingerling Potatoes6 oz, 12 oz1/4″ coins19 to 21 minutesFoil packet with 2 tbsp waterTender
Fingerling Potatoes6 oz,
12 oz
1/2″ coins20 to 22 minutesFoil packet with 2 tbsp waterTender
Fingerling Potatoes6 oz 12 ozHalved24 to 26 minutesFoil packet with 2 tbsp waterTender
Shishito Peppers3 oz 6 ozWhole6 to 8 minutesTurning occasionallyCharred and softened

Check out our guide to grilling fruits and vegetables for more tips. 

Grill bread & more  

how to grill tortillas
Pitas1 eachWhole, unwrapped1 to 2 minutesPer sideLightly browned and pliable
Baguette1 or 2 eachHalved lengthwise1 to 2 minutesPer sideLightly browned and toasted
Flour Tortillas1 eachWhole, unwrapped30 seconds to 1 minutePer sideCharred
Paneer4 ozWhole3 minutesPer sideCharred and softened

Head to our cookbook for more recipe ideas.

How-To: Truss A Chicken or Cornish Game Hen

A roast chicken or Cornish game hen is a simple, delicious dinner. Every cook should have her favorite method for roasting a whole bird memorized. Next time you’re preparing a poultry feast, try our method for easy trussing, no butcher’s twine required.

What is trussing?

Trussing is a method of tying up a chicken into a neat little package. Typically it’s done using butcher’s twine. A chef uses twine to tie the legs and wings closer to the body of the bird. Trussing a chicken can improve the appearance of the roasted bird, and can help it cook more evenly.

Why do chefs truss chickens (and Cornish game hens)? 

One of the challenges of roasting a chicken is ensuring that it cooks evenly. When a chicken is lying flat on a tray, the wings and legs tend to fall away from the bird. These small pieces of sections are exposed to more air, and will cook more quickly than the rest of the bird. Trying the legs and wings closer to the body of the bird can help the chicken cook more evenly and prevent the tips of the wings from burning. A trussed chicken also looks neat and pretty when presented whole. 

Do I need to truss a chicken (or Cornish game hen)? 

Trussing a chicken or Cornish game hen isn’t strictly mandatory, but with the no method we use, it’s so easy that there’s no reason not to.

What do I do if I don’t have butcher twine?

I’m glad you asked! Watch the video above to see our chef demonstrate a method for trussing a chicken with no twine. 

How to truss a chicken with no twine 

Using a knife, locate the extra skin flap around the cavity of the bird. Using scissors or a knife, make a small incision in the skin flap. Use your finger to widen the hole. Repeat on the other side of the cavity. 

After both incisions have been made, take hold of one of the drumsticks. Pull it across the body of the chicken and tuck the end of the drumstick through the hole that you created. Repeat with the other drumstick so that the legs are crossed and tucked closely against the bird.

Finally, take hold of the wings of the bird. Push them up and back, as though the chicken were stretching its arms over its head. Push the tips of the wings behind the bird and tuck them into place. This will keep the meat from drying out. 

trussed roasted chicken

Now that you’ve mastered this technique, try our recipe for simple roast chicken.

What Are Tannins In Wine?

header wine tannins

Pairing food and wine is as much about feel as it is about flavor. We’re not talking about your feelings, we’re talking about the effect that tannins have on your palate as you sip a glass of wine. If you consider the mouthfeel, or texture, of your wine, you’ll have an even better dining experience. Of course, your feelings matter too.

Here’s a way to think about it: If you practice yoga, you use a mat with little grooves on the surface, right? Those grooves give you grip. ‘Grip’ is the also the term that wine experts use to describe a red wine’s tannins. Tannins are polyphenols, natural compounds in wine that quickly bind to proteins; your saliva contains proteins, so tannins give your palate the feeling of drying out. Have you ever let a cup of tea steep for too long, taken a sip, and found that it tasted really dry and bitter? That’s the effect of tannin. In addition to grapes, as they’re found in most plants.

wine-info-graph tannins

Tannins grip your saliva and prime your palate for that next bite of food, just as your feet grip the yoga mat. The more difficult the pose, the more grip you want the mat to have. And the more tannic a wine, the more likely it is to pair with richer, more flavorful food. Tannins can make complex flavors pop after each sip of wine. Below are a few pairings we suggest.

tannins in nero d'avola
tannins in pinot noir

Just how important a factor are tannins in pairing? Forgetting flavors for a moment, each and every wine, red or white, can be thought of in these four aspects in terms of their food-pairing options: Tannins, sweetness, body and acidity. One of the wines below is red, one is white. Can you guess which is which and, therefore, would pair better with a rich, juicy steak?


In terms of sweetness, body and acidity, the wines are very similar. Tannins are the key differentiator. Tannins are found in the skins of grapes. Red wines are made by soaking the grape juice along with the skins to extract the red color and tannins. White wines are made by pressing the grapes so there’s no contact with the skins and, therefore, no tannin extraction into the wine. Most white wines don’t contain tannins.

If you guessed that the wine on the left is the red wine, you’re right! That is the wine that we’d pair with a steak. The wine’s tannins will not only help cut the richness of the meat, they’ll dry out and cleanse your palate. Take another sip, and now you’ll enjoy the wine’s flavors and textures on their own—and you’ll especially enjoy the next bite of meat!

tannins in bordeaux

When you’re considering pairings, definitely think about complementary flavors in the food and the wine. But remember that the effect of the wine’s core components on your palate, particularly the amount of tannins, is just as important a factor—sometimes, the most important one.

The Difference Between Whole Wheat and Whole Grain

difference between whole wheat and whole grain

White, whole wheat, and whole grain breads all get their start with grains. The difference is determined by white grains are used, and how those grains are processed. 

Before we understand the difference between whole wheat and whole grain bread, let’s take a look at what a grain is.

The anatomy of a grain 

Freshly-harvested grains have a protective husk like an ear of corn. This outermost layer is inedible, and is removed before grains are packaged or processed into flour. 

Underneath the husk, each grain has a thin layer known as the bran. The bran is fiber and nutrient-rich. If the grain were an apple, the bran would be the apple skin; a thin, edible, outer later. 

The next layer is the endosperm. This would be the flesh of the apple. The endosperm is the largest part of the grain. This is the starchy fuel source that would provide nutrition for the germ if the grain were to sprout. 

This brings us to the germ. The germ is the innermost part of the grain. The entire grain is really just a package supporting and protecting the germ. This nutrient-rich center is the portion of the grain that would spout and grow if planted. 

Whole wheat vs. whole grain bread 

Conventional supermarket white bread is made from processed white flour. To make white flour, the bran and germ are removed before wheat grains are milled. Removing these components creates a light-colored, neutral-tasting product. The resulting flour is shelf stable, but the fiber and nutrients from the bran and germ have been stripped away. 

Whole wheat bread is made from 100% milled wheat grains. To make whole wheat flour, the germ and bran remain intact. This creates a nutrient-rich flour, but the oils from the germ and bran reduce the products shelf-life. This is why organic whole wheat flour is kept in the refrigerator at some grocery stores. 

The main difference between whole wheat and whole grain bread is that whole grain bread can include grains other than wheat. Some popular grains include sorghum, millet, and even brown rice. No matter what grains are included, they’ve been milled with the germ and bran intact, ensuring maximum nutrient power. 

In addition to whole wheat and whole grain, the grocery store may have breads labeled multi-grain, wheat, or white whole wheat. It can be difficult to parse all of the labels. If you’re looking for the most nutrient-dense product, the word “whole” is your best clue here. That’s the indicator that the grain has not been separated before milling. 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with choosing white bread or white flour. We love a crusty baguette dipped into soup, or just slathered with butter. Learning the difference between whole wheat and whole grain is just one way to make informed decisions at the grocery store.