This week on Fine Cooking: Basil and Lettuce 2-for-1

I have not-one-but-two articles on my Kitchen Mysteries with The Food Geek at Fine Cooking (dot) Com. Woo! The first is my print article from issue 100, in which I discuss the the proper storage and treatment of leafy greens. The illustration by Aude Van Ryn are fantastic, incidentally. The second is my usual weekly column discussing using basil in cooked food, from a technique standpoint as well as a pointer (familiar to longtime readers) for finding out what foods pair well with others.

Fine Cooking Thursday: For Butter or Worse

A special for the new issue of Fine Cooking is to let people online read my whole article without paying for the site. Woo! So run to Fine Cooking (dot) com and learn whether adding oil to butter will raise its smoke point. There's tips on clarifying butter, what ghee is, and all that stuff in there as well. This is also a good opportunity to view the difference between my fully-edited columns vs. the normal stuff you see on my blog. Of course, just because you've gotten a chance to read my article, there are still plenty of good things in the new issue, so after you've posted your thoughts on Fine Cooking's site, please do pick up a copy of the new issue. It's packed with all sorts of interesting information and lots of good recipes.

Fine Cooking Thursday: Like syrup for candy

My question this week involves the substitution of rice syrup for corn syrup in candy making. Is it a good idea? Will it all go horribly wrong? There's only one way to know for sure. As a special feature for The Food Geek readers, I'm going to include some alternate text that didn't go into the original article. It's like a bonus feature on a DVD. Woo! I had a metaphor that just wasn't really working for me nor a select group of test readers, so I cut it. I could have made it work, but it didn't seem necessary, so I figured there was no reason to force the issue.
Corn syrup, on the other hand, is mostly glucose. The reason it's so, well, syrupy is because it's not just single molecules of glucose all hanging out by themselves, but chains of glucose. Sometimes they're short chains, sometimes they're long chains. It kind of like, and I want to stress that this is only a metaphor and should in no way put you off candy making, it's kind of like a big can of worms. Some of the worms are little ones, some are big long ones, but they all flow around each other and keep things moving slowly. The reason why you put the corn syrup into the candy is because, when you just have single sugar molecules by themselves, then the sugar molecules want to bunch together to make crystals. It's really keen and useful for certain kinds of candies, but not as useful for others. What the corn syrup does is get in-between the sucrose molecules so, while they would normally join hands together, they instead try to keep from touching anything in case, for example, it might be a big worm.
4B72FB8B-4DFB-40BB-9238-C19AAC38756D.jpg Anyways, it's no room full of kittens, nor is it a thoroughly extended metaphor about a party, but for those who like knowing some of the (shhh!) secrets of the writing process, there ya go.

New on Beans and Salt Water

Another Thursday, another mystery solved. This week, I answer a question from twitter about a common bit of advice in cookbooks: should you avoid putting salt in the cooking water for beans? Although I love writing these, I need more questions from readers. Please comment, tweet, or send me feedback to let me know what questions you may have about food or cooking. I can't do it without you.

Fine Cooking Thursdays: Reducing Complexity

Another article is up on Fine Cooking's web site, this time from @megpasz about the temperature at which sauces reduce. I answered the question in my usual overachieving manner. Because, I ask you, how many other columnists will tell you what temperature really is?* Also, it should be noted that no kittens were harmed in the making of this week's metaphor. steamy-pot.jpg *- Probably only 3. Maybe 4, depending on the day.