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25 Ways to Use Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, are delicious tubers that act quite similarly to potatoes when cooked. They originate from a plant that looks like a sunflower, and are not artichokes or from Jerusalem, so how the name Jerusalem artichoke came about is debated. Most likely it was a misunderstanding over the Italian word for sunflower, girasole. No matter the name, Jerusalem artichokes are delicious — nutty, crunchy when raw and super nutritious.

At this point in the season, you should be able to find Jerusalem artichokes at your local grocery store or farmers market. Store loosely wrapped in a paper towel placed in a resealable plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

But don’t go crazy on Jerusalem artichokes just yet. If you don’t know how your stomach (*ahem*) reacts to inulin, the carbohydrate present in Jerusalem artichokes, peel and cook before eating, which often helps alleviate the symptoms that gave these root veggies the nickname “fartichokes.” And now after that lovely mental image, 25 ways to snack on sunchokes:

  1. Like most other root vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes respond well to roasting. Try out this simple preparation that will become a go-to side dish in your house: Oven-Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes.
  2. Take that idea and run with it, mixing in any herbs and spices that you want, especially lavender and garlic.
  3. Sunchoke Pizza (pictured above) with kale, rosemary and three types of cheese is an instant winner at every table.
  4. Guy Fieri takes on pasta salad with Fieri Farfalle Salad, using red bell pepper pesto, mozzarella, olives and Jerusalem artichokes.
  5. Marinate Danish Ham — Viking Style overnight with honey, thyme, bay leaves, juniper berries and beer for maximum flavor. Roasting the ham with root veggies at the same time will cut down on cleanup after the meal.

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25 Ways to Use Pumpkins

Pumpkin-flavored lattes, cookies and just about anything else that could potentially be flavored with spicy pumpkin-y flavors are shoved in our faces from the day after Labor Day until (very similar to Cinderella) they disappear at midnight on Thanksgiving. But they don’t! Actual pumpkins are not always meant to taste like they’re going in a pie with cinnamon and nutmeg. When’s the last time you grabbed one of these hunky guys from the grocery store and just went to town? I’m talking about getting down and dirty with some winter squash, roasting it and adding it to some risotto, or making your own pumpkin puree because it’s seriously that easy. You know you want to.

Carved pumpkins are cute on your doorstep, but they turn out starchy and not super flavorful when you cook them. For cooking, you’re going to want pumpkins labeled pie, sugar or cheese, and the smaller ones tend to be sweetest.

The easiest way to prep your pumpkin, after carefully cutting around the stem to remove, is to scoop out the fibers and seeds, and either cut the pumpkin in half and roast, or peel and cut it into large dice and boil in water or chicken stock. Don’t forget to save the seeds! Rinse them off, removing any fibers, blot dry, then toss with some olive oil and spices before roasting (try these Spicy Pumpkin Seeds or Spiced Pepitas) for an addictive, crunchy snack.

So if you’ve already had it with the holidays (and it’s not even technically the holiday season yet) take a look below to remember why we love autumn. Because: pumpkins.

  1. Alton Brown’s Pumpkin Bread (pictured above) can easily be made into pumpkin muffins by switching baking vessels.

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25 Ways to Use Persimmons

Persimmons are the bright orange fall and winter fruits that are often mistaken for unripe tomatoes and even more frequently passed by in the market because, well, what are you going to do with them?

Let’s start off with the basics. There is a variety of persimmon indigenous to the southern United States, but the two most common are Asian varieties — Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu are sweet, squat and yellow-orange, and ready to eat when still slightly firm. Hachiya, which are larger than the Fuyu and have a tip at the bottom, need to be super ripe and almost too squishy to pick up before you attempt to eat them. Try an unripe Hachiya and you’ll be in for an unpleasant, bitter surprise due to their tannic (like red wine) nature. Persimmons are sweet and sour, and their texture is slightly reminiscent of apricots or peaches, so they’re often pureed or baked into goods, but they’re also delicious raw. Pick some this fall and you’ll fall in love with persimmons, 25 different ways.

  1. When in doubt, throw any new/questionable/scary fruit into a muffin: Persimmon Muffins.
  2. Persimmons with Minted Brown Sugar (pictured above) are a perfect option for slightly underripe Fuyus — the brown sugar will sweeten them up enough to make a healthy dessert or a topper for tart Greek yogurt in the morning.
  3. Switch up your go-to potluck dish with Persimmon Pudding with Hard Sauce. Serve the pudding warm to melt the hard sauce on top.
  4. Emeril’s Persimmon and Cinnamon Crumb Cake calls for quite a few ingredients. Take a look in your cupboard and you’ll be surprised to find that you probably have almost everything you need.
  5. This Salad of Frisee, Radicchio, Pears, Pomegranate and Persimmons will be a hit on your Thanksgiving table (and throughout the rest of the winter season). The sweet fruit offsets bitter greens in a mouth-happy medley.

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Good to Know: The Ultimate Kids’ Table

Cooking Channel’s original web series Good to Know offers up genius DIY hacks that will ease everyday chores and up your party-planning game. Today, hosts Dan Pashman and Laurie March kick off the holiday season with tips for creating an awesome, interactive kids’ table for any family shindig using craft paper, stickers, cupcake trees and even a non-alcoholic scorpion bowl. With these handy tips, pint-sized guests — and their parents — will be begging for a spot at the kiddie table:

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25 Ways to Use Apples

If you haven’t already gone apple picking, and you live anywhere on the East Coast, it’s probably on your agenda. A day of running around in the fresh air alone makes the trip worth the effort, but the apple cider and fresh doughnuts don’t hurt either.

The best part of apple picking is ending up with so many varieties of apples. Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and McIntosh make up more than half of the apples grown in the U.S. The staples are good when you’re in a pinch, but it’s so much more exciting to try out all of the other varieties available. Large, firm crisp varieties, like Fuji, Granny Smith and Northern Spy, do well baked or cooked. Honeycrisps and Pink Ladies are sweet-tart choices and perfect for an on-the-go snack.

So after a day of fun at the apple orchard, I’m standing in front of 25 pounds of apples with no plans — except for the handful of apples that will be going into “Mom’s Muck,” as my sister and I used to lovingly call our mother’s homemade applesauce. Until I figure out what to do with the rest, I’m loving the fact that apples keep for weeks in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator or in a cool, dark basement. And now onto the much-needed 25 ways to use apples.

  1. When there’s only one slice of Apple Pie left, go with Apple of My Pie, or try Kelsey Nixon’s 21 and under version, Apple Pie Shake (pictured above).
  2. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup has deep, earthy flavors of squash, brightened up with the crisp, sweet flavor of apples.
  3. Single-serving Deep-Dish Tarte Tatin is an easy dinner party dessert. Have everything put together and pop the tarts in the oven when you start the main course. Don’t forget to let them rest before serving, or you may lose the shape of the tarts while plating.
  4. Play it safe and sweet with Kelsey’s classic Mile-High Apple Pie, or spice it up with Four and Twenty Blackbirds Salted Caramel Apple Pie.
  5. Bobby Flay captures the essence of autumn in one dish: Caramel Apple Cheesecake.

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25 Ways to Use Beer


Oktoberfest may be over in Germany, but we’re continuing the celebration for the rest of the fall (and maybe even winter). Beer is a year-round beverage, and October’s crisp days are a perfect excuse for hoppy pumpkin ales in my house. Dip the rim of a frosted beer mug in a cinnamon-sugar mixture for a tasty presentation of your favorite pumpkin beer. But why leave all your beer in a glass when it is the perfect partner for all things hearty, like cheese, meat, marinades and stews? Sunday football bashes mean you’ll be braising, beer battering and mixing cocktails (like the Classy Ladies’ Beer-ly Legal Cocktail) all season long.

An ID is required for several of these recipes, but most of them are appropriate for all ages. Drink (and eat) up!

  1. Beer Can Chicken and its slightly larger cousin Beer Can Turkey are simple standbys that produce flavorful, moist meals every time: place beer can in poultry, roast, then feast. Fancy Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce (pictured above) and Barbecue Beer Can Chicken are always options for the ambitious cook.
  2. Beer Braised Szechuan Chicken Wings are braised in beer and then deep-fried to perfection. This dish packs a punch, so if you need to take down the heat, skip the chiles.

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25 Ways to Use Prosciutto

If bacon makes everything better, then prosciutto makes everything perfect. Having a bad day? Just whip out the prosciutto, wrap it around a chunk of mozzarella and put it on a baguette for a quick sandwich, or skip the vehicle and eat it straight up — either way, you will feel a thousand times better. It’s the Italian version of chicken-soup-for-the-cranky-soul; something about it is just calming and makes you feel like you’re sitting at a cafe on a cobblestone street in Italy (even if you’re standing in front of your fridge at 2 am). So what is prosciutto? It’s a salt-cured, dry-aged Italian ham. Prosciutto is a bit on the salty side, but indulging on a semi-regular basis can’t be that bad for you (this is what I tell myself when I self-medicate with cured meat).

Prosciutto di Parma is some of the best stuff because the process is so closely regulated in Parma, but I’ve tried some local NYC prosciuttos and they are catching up to the homeland. Ask your butcher for a taste before purchasing; this stuff isn’t cheap and you want to love whatever you get. If you’re going to be cooking the prosciutto, ask for thicker slices (about 1/8 inch thick), but for everything else ask them to slice it as thin as possible — it should look like a beautiful meat stained-glass window — a delicate texture to pair with its delicate flavor. Get in touch with your inner Italian and mangia!

  1. Gnocchi is often made with potatoes, but switch it up and make Goat Cheese Ricotta Gnocchi with Garden Zucchini Tomato Sauce and Crisp Prosciutto.
  2. Ricotta Pancakes with Roasted Golden Delicious Apples and Roasted Prosciutto is a definite step up from the boxed pancake mix (not that there’s anything wrong with getting by with a little help from our boxed friends).
  3. If you’re not a fan of lamb, you can substitute beef cuts like filet mignon in Giada’s Prosciutto and Cheese Stuffed Lamb Tenderloin recipe.
  4. Prosciutto on pizza will never fail you: Cornmeal Crusted Pizza with Prosciutto, Green Peas, Fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto, Pesto and Taleggio Cheese, Pizzettes with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto, and Stuffed Pizza with Variations: Spinach and Fontina, Escarole, Anchovy, Pine Nut and Raisin, Prosciutto Cotto and Scamorza.
  5. Italian Flatbread Piadina with Fontina and Prosciutto (pictured above) is similar to pizza but is traditionally cooked on the grill, which makes for a great party food that won’t overheat the house.

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25 Ways to Use Cardamom

Using spices like cardamom really helps me think outside the box and play with new flavors and cuisines that I normally don’t cook. Cardamom is a staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines (try it as a flavoring for coffee or in some mulled wine) and also plays a big part in Swedish cooking, which seems strange until you find out that it was brought back from what is now Turkey to Scandinavia by Viking explorers. Cardamom was used as a breath freshener by the ancient Egyptians and a digestive aid in traditional Indian medicine, but most importantly, it’s delicious — warm and sweet in a way that pairs well with many savory dishes (think poultry, curries and all kinds of rice dishes) and is particularly fantastic as we head into the crisp days of fall. If you’re using the whole pods, gently toast them in a dry pan over medium heat until they start smelling aromatic. From there you can use whole or toss in a spice grinder. Cardamom is one of the world’s most expensive spices, second only to saffron. A little bit of this pungent spice packs a punch though, so don’t worry about having to use your whole stock in one dish. Incorporate cardamom into your weekly routine with these 25 recipes:

  1. Your next weekend cooking project has arrived: Pistachio-Crusted Chinook Salmon with Ginger-Cardamom Yogurt Sauce, Glazed Beets and Grilled Summer Squash. Although this dish comprises several pieces, none are overwhelmingly complicated.
  2. Aarti Sequeira rehydrates dates in brandy for her Date, Pistachio and Cardamom Cake (pictured above), adding a bit of bite to contrast the sticky sweetness of the dates.
  3. Just when you think creme brulee can’t be improved upon, in comes Banana and Cardamom Creme Brulee.
  4. Southmoreland Plum Kabobs with Cardamom Sugar Rub might just be the easiest (and most delicious) dessert you will ever make. Sprinkle plum kabobs with cardamom sugar rub, then grill and eat!
  5. Make easy Cardamom-Orange French Toast for a weekend treat. Aida Mollenkamp utilizes French batard bread, which is similar to a baguette, but a little shorter and squatter (like a squished football). If you can’t find any batard, substitute brioche or even ciabatta.

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25 Ways to Use Yogurt

You and yogurt have had a long-standing healthy relationship. You know that it’s better for you than a bagel at breakfast, but sometimes it’s just so boring that you hit a wall and banish this practical, nutrient-rich breakfast from your life. You go wild, eating egg sandwiches from bodegas and pancakes from diners, which just leave you feeling ashamed and bloated. This is when yogurt starts looking really good again, all healthy and loaded with nutrients like potassium and probiotics that aid in digestion and strengthen your immune system. So you decide to give it another go with yogurt, and you say this time will be different. You just have to give yogurt the attention it deserves, take it out for lunch or dinner, and even dessert sometimes. Next thing you know, you’ll be showing off your yogurt at parties and get-togethers.

What you might not have realized is that your old standby, yogurt, has a slightly sour taste that lends itself beautifully to both sweet (like berries and fruit) and savory (garlic, lemons, cucumber) pairings, making it a real jack-of-all-trades and not just something to fill the void before lunch. Get funky with fermented milk using these 25 ideas:

  1. Get to know yogurt on an intimate level and make your own Fresh Yogurt.
  2. Yogurt not your thing? Take that yogurt, strain it and you end up with Yogurt Cheese, a healthy swap-out for cream cheese.
  3. Whoever told you that creamy dressings were bad for you never tried Alton Brown’s Thousand Island Dressing made with yogurt and tomato sauce instead of mayo and ketchup.
  4. Strain the yogurt overnight for Chuck Hughes’ Steamed Carrot Cake with Honey Yogurt Frosting to reach the consistency of frosting. Don’t have any cheesecloth on hand? Use a paper coffee filter instead.
  5. Nadia G. calls for thick yogurt in her Frozen Yogurt Coconut Pops (pictured above). Use the same method from above to achieve the correct consistency.

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25 Ways to Use Figs

Fresh figs are a transition fruit. Their sugary-sweet flesh represents the shift from the hot, beachy days of August to the sweater and closed-toe-shoe nights of fall, making it just slightly less painful. I think my favorite aspect of figs is their ability to be paired with both sweet and savory foods. Figs are at home in a jam or a duck salad (or with prosciutto or in ice cream or on top of a salad) — you get the picture. For the best results, pair figs with all types of cheese, particularly blue, mozzarella, goat or aged cheese like Parmesan.

Looking to grow your own? Fig trees can’t withstand the low temps of the Northeast, so they’re normally found in the South and on the West Coast. For those of us not lucky enough to enjoy the fruit of our own trees, beautiful figs can be found at some grocery stores and most farmers markets throughout the season. Get them while you can, before you have to take out your winter parka!

  1. Fig and Blue Cheese Flatbread (pictured above) with a little bit of prosciutto and caramelized onions will hit the spot. Use store-bought pizza dough to speed up the prep-to-eating process.
  2. Fig Preserves, people. Whether you’re picking these puppies right off the tree or from the farmers market, preserves make fantastic gifts that last all year long. Don’t forget to sterilize the jars properly.
  3. Taking the preserves one step further: Fig-Ruby Port Preserves.
  4. Frank’s Moustache Ride Cocktail is one of the tastiest ways to relax. Don’t have any fig simple syrup on hand? Reconstitute dried figs while making a simple syrup with water and sugar.
  5. Poussin Sotto Mattone utilizes the classic preparation of cooking under a brick, which helps all parts of the chicken to cook at the same temperature while flattening it out simultaneously. “Frenching” the wings of the poussin is easy; cut off the wingtip and place the chicken on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, push all of the skin and meat towards the drumstick and expose the bone. You know you’ve been frenching right if the end product looks like a chicken Popsicle.

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