The 10 Manliest Cocktails

If you read the posts that I write, you will find that I jest about manliness all the time, but this time, manliness just got real! Guyism wrote an article about the 10 manliest cocktails. Some of them sound really tough like the Rusty Nail or fun like Zombie. Here’s their 10:

Whiskey Smash

1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of water
2 oz of bourbon whiskey
2 sprigs of mint


1 sugar cube
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
1 tablespoon of club soda
2 oz of bourbon whiskey
1 strip of lemon peel Read the rest of this entry »

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The Best Burger Tips

Courtesy of Flickr

Now that we’re in Spring and Memorial Day is right around the corner, TheCultureBite wanted to share some tips for making some Awesome Burgers for your next outdoor BBQ.

The Meat

  1. Grind Your Own Meat. Or have the butcher grind it for you. For juicy burgers, make sure you use coarse ground burger patties.
  2. Your Burgers Need Fat. No fat, no taste. Keep fat to about 20%.
  3. Add a Dimple. Press your thumb in the middle of the burger to minimize bloating
  4. Salt And Pepper. That’s it. Adding other ingredients increases the chance that a burger will fall apart.
  5. Form, then Salt. Form the Burger before adding Salt. Preferably, salt right before grilling.
  6. Beef… it’s what to Grill. Turkey and Buffalo are alright, if you are lame, but if you are awesome, then you’ll use Beef.
  7. Keep Meat Cold. The worst thing for your burgers is to allow them to warm in your hands.

The Technique

  1. Do no Press the Burger. You don’t like it when your Dad/Boss/Spouse, stands over you while you are working on something important, and neither does your meat.
  2. Flip Once. Build those Grill Marks, then Flip.
  3. Flip, Then Cheese. Cover the Grill to evenly melt the cheese.
  4. Toast, not Roast, the bun. Nobody likes to eat burnt bread. Lightly Toast it and keep the center nice and moist.
  5. Hot Grill, Good. Make sure the Coals are well heated, not heating. When you are getting a good heat, burgers should just spend 4 minutes on each side.
  6. Use a Thermometer.
  • 120°F and below for rare (red/raw in the center)
  • 130°F for medium-rare (pink and warm)
  • 140°F for medium (totally pink, starting to dry out)
  • 150°F for medium-well (grayish pink, significantly drier)
  • 160°F and above for well done (completely gray, very little moisture)

Add your own Tips in the comments!

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How to Salt Food Properly

Here is a great article from Serious Eats on seasoning your food properly.

Almost every home cook I know has proudly declared, “I hardly use any salt in my cooking.” But when I ask them what makes restaurant cuisine taste so good, they all agree: it’s the salt.

If you think about it, we all blame salt.  “It’s too salty”. “It’s too bland”. “The salt is gonna kill ya’” So, how do we know enough is enough?

The trick: Season along all stages of the cooking process (not just the end) and continue to taste, taste, taste as you go.

That sounds easy enough.  Did you know certain ingredients make salt saltier?

To avoid overdoing it: Keep in mind that saltiness can change as food sits or shifts in temperature (as in the case of preparing something in advance and storing it in the fridge), or can concentrate as liquids reduce. It also tends to be absorbed or counteracted by adding dairy—keep this in mind when finishing a soup with heavy cream or a sauce with butter.

And if you’ve already overdone the salt?

If you’ve ovedone it: You can add a splash of cream or a dab of unsalted butter at the end. Starch, too, can have absorbing powers. Julia Child wrote that if you grate raw potatoes into a dish, let them simmer for 7 to 8 minutes, then strain, “they’ll have absorbed quite a bit of the excess salt.”

And one final unique tip:

practice salting food at a height of about 10 or 12 inches above it. The distance gives a better sense of just how much salt you’re trickling, and the granules will spread more evenly over the food’s surface.

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Learn Basic Knife Skills

I’m not a world class chef, but I can microwave a mean Banquet Salisbury Steak TV dinner.  So, anytime there’s some tips on improving my kitchen game, I’m all ears.  Check out this video from thekitchn where they discuss basic knife skills for any kitchen newbies.

How To Learn Basic Knife Skills from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn on Vimeo.

What You Need

Onion or another vegetable for practicing

Cutting board
Rubber mat or other stabilizing material
Sharp chef’s knife


1. Stabilize your cutting surface – Before you even get started with your knife, stabilize your cutting board to keep it from slipping or moving. Place a piece of nonskid rubber material underneath. You can also use an old placemat, or a damp dishtowel.

2. Choose a sharp knife that feels comfortable – Choosing a good knife is important! It’s difficult to give precise instructions on that here, as it will be different for everyone. It will depend on the shape and and size of your hands, and your own cooking style. Go to a cookware or knife shop and hold a lot of different kinds of knives. Look for one that feels heavy enough to be substantial, but not so heavy it drags your wrist down. Finding the best knife will take time and experience, and until you have your “perfect knife” just make sure the one you’re working with is sharp and in good condition.

3. Learn how to hold the knife – The knife should be gripped securely around the handle, and ideally you should be able to pinch the bottom end of the blade with your thumb and forefinger. (If this is difficult, this may be a sign that the knife is not the right shape or size for your hands.) Do not extend your forefinger along the top of the blade, as this will decrease your control and speed. When you are holding the knife correctly you will find that you tend to use your upper arm and shoulder more to support the weight and to control the motion of the knife — as opposed to your wrist and forearm.

4. Create a stable surface on your vegetable – The first order of business when chopping an onion (or any other vegetable) is creating a stable surface from which to work. This almost goes without saying; it’s second nature to most cooks! But it’s helpful to think about it purposefully and to look over a vegetable before chopping to determine the right stable surface to create. On an onion, for instance, you should trim off both ends, then cut the onion in half lengthwise. Then you have a stable, flat surface from which you can do more fine chopping.

5. Practice The Claw – Now that you’re holding your knife correctly, your other hand should be forming The Claw while chopping. Curl your fingers back into a claw while holding the vegetable you’re chopping so that if your knife slips you just hit your knuckles instead of actually cutting your fingertips.

Additional Notes:

• These are just the most basic elements of well-formed knife skills. If you practice these consistently, you will find that you have more control and more speed when working with your knife.

• There are of course many other specialized knife skills developed by various cuisines for a variety of foods (dicing, mincing, boning) but these skills here are just the basics to get you started.


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[How To] Make Hot Pot At Home

Hot Pot Cooking

Traditional Chinese New Years involves a big feast shared amongst family on the eve of Chinese New Years. This year, my family changed it up from the usual jai (vegetarian dish), duck and roast pork to hot pot.

Hot pot is pretty much the Asian version of fondue, except instead of the dip being the main event, it’s the ingredients. A pot simmering a broth is placed at the center of a dining table and ingredients such as meat, vegetables, noodles, etc. are placed in the broth to cook.

In this post, I will share how we made our hot pot so you can replicate it at home.

What you will need:

Hot Pot Butane Stove1 butane gas stove
1 dutch oven pot
4lbs of thinly sliced meat (mix of beef, lamb, pork)
2 individual packs of udon noodles (you can use any other kind of noodle)
2 packages of firm tofu
2 packages of enoki mushrooms
1 package of yam noodles
1 small head of napa cabbage
1 bunch of spinach
1 bunch of watercress
3/4 lb of shrimp (peeled and de-veined)
1 jar of Chinese barbeque sauce
2 bouillon cubes
2-3 quarts of water

Cooking instructions:

Hot Pot Mushrooms TofuMany people get the idea that because the guests are cooking, there is little work required by the host. Totally untrue. You have to clean and cut the vegetables, make the broth and assemble the meat. And in our case, we also made the wontons.

First things first, clean and cut all your vegetables. Get all your prep work out of the way before your guests arrive. Boil 2 quarts of water with 2 bouillon cubes. It’s okay if the broth is light, the meat and dipping sauces will flavor the broth. Assemble all of the raw ingredients on serving dishes and place the pot of boiling broth on the burner.

To eat, dump in your ingredients, dip it in some Chinese bbq sauce and eat! I usually only throw in what I’m planning to eat at that moment. If you dump everything at once, you may end up with overcooked meat and vegetables.

Hot pot is really whatever you want it to be. Be inventive with your ingredients and have fun!

*Update: My friend suggested using an electric grill instead of a butane grill. Butane grills can explode! Yikes!!

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