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2009 - Top ten tips and recipes of the DECADE

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Difficult to believe the first decade of the 21st century is over.

What were the best things you learned and recipes you've found over the past ten years?

I'll think about this a bit and add to it, but I'm going to start with my top two ... the ones that instantly leaped to mind.

Mom Mom's Red Velvet Cake/Butter Cream Icing
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/388523

While I haven't tried this yet, to me it is everything good about Chowhound. Someone generously sharing tasty information. It is personal and like being invited into a neighbor's kitchen. There is a glimpse into the lives of so many families across so many generations. I love this whole thread and will make this cake someday

The other tip gets credited to me, but it was from a 2002 post by budino who learned it from grandma ... keeping strawberries in glass jars
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/289423

I can't begin to tell the money and time this has saved me. I buy all sort of berries in large quantities without fear because I know all I have to do is put them unwashed in a glass jar in the fridge and they will last two weeks. No muss, no fuss, no waste.

This was extended to other fruit, veggies and herbs. Chopped onions ... no problem ... and no odor. Cherry tomatoes ... love it. Grapes ... especially grapes. Parsley, cilantro, sliced scalions ... etc, etc, etc.

The Chow Digest article
http://www.chow.com/digest/2006/08/mo...

More threads
http://search.chow.com/search?query=S...

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  1. Perhaps it is difficult to believe because, technically, the decade is not over for another year. But aside from my pedantry, one top ten recipe might be Momofuku pork buns: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6689....

    1 Reply
    1. re: Joebob

      One of those people who didn't recognize the new millenium until 2001, eh?

      PLEASE people ... please, please, please .... please ... do not let this wander off topic on what a decade means to you. For my part, the last year of a decade ends with '9'. For me, the 1980's ended with 1989. When referring to the 80's, for me, it doesn't include 1990. Wiki pretty much discusses the topic
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decade

      Anyway, I thought of another tip that I picked up in the period between 2000 and 2009 ... wrapping celery in aluminum foil .... it will keep for weeks without wilting. Another real moneysaver.

    2. GOT to provide a shout out to the concept of food blogging!

      I have made friends with like-minded people in several countries and on 3 continents. I've expanded my horizons tremendously and come by wealths of information and resources. And I don't know when I had the joy and inspiration in cooking that comes with always a new idea and someone to share it with that shares the enthusiasm. And all because of food blogging. Gotta love it!!!

      3 Replies
      1. re: rainey

        I can't top this. Food blogging has made my own home cooking so much more interesting, social, and delicious.

        Instructional videos posted on the web are also revolutionary for me.

        1. re: rainey

          Ditto on food blogging, food v-logging, food podcasting, boot camps for food bloggers, food bloggers publishing cookbooks and blogHER for making sense of the sheer volume.

          Additionally a shout out to pros who welcomed home cooks everywhere; even blogging together under many energized & fun recipes shares, blog rolls and contests. The collaboration was well noted and made me proud to be a (small) part of the viral, home cooking sphere.

          Food bloggers test recipes, share those results, adapt ingredients and photograph the experimentation. Time givers of a passionate order and I appreciate all of them.

          1. re: HillJ

            point well made about how generous and supportive food pros have been!!!!!!!

        2. I hope you are taking nominees in the Techniques category. I'd like to nominate brining, for meats, and no-knead bread making. These are things that, 10 years ago, had never crossed my mind and now are indispensible.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tcamp

            Between this and the food blogging post, I had not realized how significantly things have changed in the last 10 years.

            Any recipe is no further than a search away ... as is indepth info about ingredients, techniques, etc.

            It is as significant as conveniece foods in the 50's and later the wide-spread use of the microwave (I know everyone doesn't use one, but it changed things food-wise in a big way).

          2. Well, there's the raw food thing, and molecular gastronomy, and sous vide (which is becoming mainstream?) Food tv is certainly big now.
            I think the no-knead bread directly caused a huge jump in cast iron enamel cookware. (Le Creuset, Staub) wasn't it only *after* the no-knead that all those color choices began appearing, prices went up?

            7 Replies
            1. re: BangorDin

              Staub and Le Creuset have been available in many colors for decades, and have always been expensive.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Really? Maybe it was just me that started paying more attention around that Lahey bread phenomenon time--but it sure seemed like suddenly more people became aware of LC, and then it started showing up in lime, turqouise etc.

                1. re: BangorDin

                  if you start thinking about quarters, and looking for quarters, suddenly you will find more quarters on the street. now either your mind is shaping reality, or your awareness reveals new things depending on focus.

                  apply this to your awareness of le cruset

                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  and there used to be another company, Copco, that made a complete line of cast iron enamel cookware.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    And very attractive it was, too, Scandinavian design and great colors. I lusted after it but had already gone heavily into le Creuset.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      I've got more Copco (2 round, 1 oval) than Le Creuset and absolutely adore it. Beautifully designed. The lids double as gratin dishes and I use them often for that purpose.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Tell you what I have come to value much higher than enameled iron is Emile Henry's Flame line of ceramic. It's lighter and it holds heat brilliantly. It can be used for the highest cooktop temps, in the oven for roasting and also in the microwave since it's non-metallic.

                3. After a cooking fiasco last night, I remembered this tip which worked great so it goes in my top ten of the decade

                  Bounce Miracle Cure for Burnt Pots
                  http://www.chow.com/digest/2006/06/bo...

                  1. Reheating slices of leftover pizza in a cast iron pan, so that the bottoms are charred and the tops are nice and melty. I'll never use a toaster oven again.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Glencora

                      1. If cooked correctly the first time, pizza should have a good char on the bottom.

                      2. Who reheats pizza? ;)

                      1. re: scott123

                        who reheats pizza? This reminds me of Hungarian friend who asked me if anyone ever orders from those Chinese menus slipped under apartment house doors.

                        1. re: serious

                          "Who reheats pizza?"

                          Umm. I do. I think cold pizza is overrated and since my SO and I usually get an extra large, we would be quite piggy to eat the whole thing. I do agree that pizza should have a good char already, but unfortunately that's often not the case around here (Bay Area).

                          1. re: Glencora

                            Some places (CPK) will half/partial bake for you so you can finish in the oven on a stone to get the char, or do in the skillet what you need at the moment and freeze the rest.

                      2. re: Glencora

                        Dang. I thought I invented that.

                        1. re: Glencora

                          Yeah, that's a good one. I remember a similar suggestion from way back when about reheating in a non stick pan

                          Pizza Reheating Tip
                          http://www.chow.com/digest/2006/09/pi...

                          Do you cover it while heating the slice?

                          The stove top skillet is really the best method to get it close to original. Microwaves leave it soggy and toaster ovens just don't really do it.

                          1. re: rworange

                            I've found putting a plate over the non-stick skillet on low heat works great, get's the cheese and toppings up to temp before the bottom gets too crusty.

                          2. re: Glencora

                            This is one of my favorites as well. I threw out my leftover pizza before, it was horrid.
                            Now, I savor it..... yum!

                            1. re: Glencora

                              That's the way my grandmother showed me and it can't be beat at home.

                            2. That the most effective way to zest citrus using a microplane grater is to pull the grater across the fruit rather than pulling the fruit across the grater.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: janniecooks

                                Good to know.

                                1. re: janniecooks

                                  Yes - so true! That is how I do it and often wonder why I see chefs on TV doing it the other way around :-)

                                  1. re: janniecooks

                                    Why is this better? Easier? Or does it give you a different result?

                                    1. re: karykat

                                      I think it's easier and quicker to do this way, but also, you are holding the Microplane upside-down, so all the zest rests on the surface of the grater above the fruit, rather than flying off into/onto a plate or bowl or whatever. It's neater, and you can see the whole time how much zest you have.

                                      1. re: karykat

                                        Like Caitlin said. I also think it may be more effective - easier to control the microplane, easier to see the rind of the fruit, and you're less likely to take off your own skin.

                                        1. re: janniecooks

                                          Yes, I have done it this way, and it was a revelation. Forgot all about it. I think I reverted. A great reminder.

                                    2. Ohhh I love this thread! For me the best things that I learned in the last decade:
                                      1. Slow food
                                      2. Organic food (working in healthcare I particularly appreciate food grown or produced without pesticides or the use of antibiotics).
                                      3. My recipe for she-crab soup
                                      4. Norman Love chocolates
                                      5. Top Chef
                                      6. Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe
                                      7. Zingerman's mail order.
                                      8. Raw Oysters at Boss in Apalachicola, Florida
                                      9. Local farms such as Sweet Grass Dairy
                                      10. Food Network

                                      1. Knowing what's in your food and from where it came.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ajcraig

                                          Yes! Buying locally, and learning to talk to the people who grow it. (Hats off to "Diary of a Foodie" on PBS.)

                                        2. Here's a tip that is so part of my life I forgot I originally got it from Chowhound

                                          How to Keep Dairy Products Fresh Longer
                                          http://www.chow.com/digest/2006/08/ho...

                                          Keep them in the back of the fridge. To keep cottage cheese longer store upside down

                                          That cottage cheese tip is credited to me, but like the glass jar tip, I originally got it off Chowhound years before.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: rworange

                                            I store Ricotta, cottage cheese and sour cream upside down. Sour cream lasts so long now in my fridge.

                                          2. definitely food on TV for me.

                                            1. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                              I learned to cook the perfect roast chicken.

                                              1. Food on the web.
                                                You know times-they-are-a-changing when your 80 year old dad (who only started cooking in 2005) says all he has to do is type 2 ingredients into Google and he is presented with a whole world of recipes to choose from.

                                                1. This is what comes to mind, after all the recipe hunting/browsing/trying out I seem to do, the most interesting discovery (I would never have tried it without this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617694) is so-called kale crack. Not only does the whole family fight over it, it has also changed the way the kids view other green veg (ie not necessarily poisonous). So maybe not earth shattering, but certainly novel.

                                                  1. I found Chowhound within the past decade (just how old is this site anyways?) and my life has never been the same again! Well, at least I've enjoyed some good talk, great tips, and wonderful recipes. I get some of my best recipes online, the most recent of which was the oldie but goody Galleygirl's friend Laurie's Pear Tart, which I finally got around to trying in November for the first time.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: content

                                                      Oh yeah, the galleygirl pear tart is definitely among the finds of the decade. This thread, where I reported on making it with sour cherries (great variation) has the original recipe: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/281699

                                                    2. Fresh, unwashed mushrooms don't get slimy if you put them in a brown paper lunch
                                                      bag and roll the top down. They last at least 4 or 5 days this way.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: mcel215

                                                        Put them unwashed in a glass jar and they will last two weeks

                                                      2. A few decades ago when I started out as a chef. A ggod chef always had his/her knives as the esential tools. Now every chef I know has their knives and their computer. Much more sharing and networking. It has changed the face of food.

                                                        The second major thing for me is the Slow Food movement. http://www.slowfood.com/
                                                        It conbines taste with being responsible. Education and grassroots leadership with worldwide support.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: bigfellow

                                                          Yes! Hooray for Slow Food and all the family farmers and sustainable techniques and heritage varieties they've helped preserve!!!