Tag Archives: friends

This Cookie Scoop Will Fool Your Friends Into Thinking the Rest of Your Life Is Perfect Too

My first purchase with my HomeGoods employee discount in the early-2000s was a cookie scoop. I had just watched Ina Garten make chocolate chunk cookies on Barefoot Contessa and admired the precise, equal-sized dollops that she dropped across the baking sheet. I needed to have perfect cookies.

It wasn’t just about the way they’d look all piled just so on a platter at the cookie swap. This uniformity, she informed me, would also ensure that the cookies bake evenly, and thusly, taste like perfection too. So, I lingered in the baking aisle in the middle of a work day, bought a scoop as close to a 1¾-inch diameter as I could find (following Ina’s very specific instructions), went home, and started making dough. I’ve used it to bake dozens of meticulous cookies ever since.

The OXO medium cookie scoop ($14 on Amazon) is my platonic ideal of a scooper, thanks to its built-in wiper—a reliable mechanism that releases the dough in a no-stick kind of way. Thanks to this little helper, I can get close to a dozen cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in two minutes, which means I’m that much closer to brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies. And since it has a comfortable grip, I don’t get a hand cramp while baking big batches of holiday cookies.

cookie scoop 1

Photo by Chelsie Craig

This medium size is perfect for most standard cookies and also larger meatballs!

But cookies aren’t all that I make with my trusted scoops. Yes. Plural. I have a collection now. There’s the larger one with a 3 Tbsp. capacity (and a price of $15 on Amazon), that’s the perfect size for filling muffin or cupcake tins, or scooping ice cream for sundaes. A smaller one with 2 tsp. capacity ($13 on Amazon) is ideal for scooping out the insides of potatoes for the twice-baked kind, or used as a melon baller. And that medium scoop (about 1½ Tbsp.), my first love, scoops impeccable Sunday Sauce meatballs, in addition to loads and loads of cookies.

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Photo by Alex Lau, styling by Sean Dooley

I love when all of my favorite brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies are all the same size.

Everything in my life might not be flawless, but at least all the small round things can be.

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Real Friends Serve Roast Chicken at Friendsgiving

You shouldn’t be serving turkey at your Friendsgiving. Before we get any further into this argument, I just want to admit that I am not even close to being a Turkey Guy. Besides a turkey club, I think it’s a food that possesses minimal worth. Yes, I am biased. But I also have the success of your Friendsgiving in mind, so hear me out. You should be roasting chicken at your Friendsgiving. Whether it’s one whole chicken or two, roasting chicken instead of turkey is going to make for a tastier, easier, more successful party. And yes, this is a party.

Choosing chicken will help you out before we even step foot in the kitchen. Chickens, for the most part, are smaller than turkeys. I’m not sure if you knew that or not, but they are. You can look it up if you doubt my credibility on the subject. But I promise you that the whole chicken you buy at the grocery store or butcher shop will weigh less than a whole turkey. And that means it will be easier to carry, especially for someone like me. I don’t have a car. I live in a city. I walk and ride the subway. Which means there’s a zero percent chance that I will ever volunteer to carry a whole turkey anywhere. Do you want to be the person deciding whether or not it’s acceptable to rest your 16-pound turkey on the subway floor, four inches from someone’s gnarly running sneakers, because your arm is tired? No. You don’t. That’s a lose-lose scenario. Chickens get from point A to point B much more easily. Also: How many people are you feeding, anyway? Yeah: not enough people to necessitate roasting a 15-plus pound animal.

No-Fail Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

It’s also worth noting that whether you’ve roasted a bird before or not, a chicken is always less stress than a turkey. Less expensive. Less of a commitment. Less intimidating. Easier to schlep, but also easier to handle mentally.

But that difference in size also means that roasting a chicken (or a couple chickens) will take far less time than roasting the traditional, gargantuan, colonial-era poultry. You can roast a single chicken in about 45 minutes. Two will take a little longer, since there’s more heat being conducted, but the chicken will still be ready to serve much sooner than a turkey. As someone who went four years with a minuscule oven, I cherish the fact that chicken gives you more time and oven space to devote to side dishes. The mashed potatoes. The biscuits. The sweet potatoes. The salads. The sprouts. The stuff that most people like way more than the turkey.

Speaking of turkey, when was the last time you went to a restaurant and ordered turkey that wasn’t on a sandwich? Oh. Not in the last year? Not in the last decade? Never? And when was the last time you ordered chicken? Last weekend? This week? Last night? Yeah, that’s because more people like chicken than they do turkey. Because chicken tastes better.

But why does chicken taste better? Well, there are a couple reasons. First, the ratio of skin to meat on a chicken is better than that of a turkey. Since a chicken is smaller, there’s going to be more crispy, brown, beautiful skin for every bite of meat. Part of the reason turkey breast can be so bad is that there’s never enough skin to go around. Less meat, in this case, is more.

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A roast chicken can look nice too!

The entirety of a chicken also cooks at the same rate. A turkey does not. The historical pitfall of the turkey is that the breast dries out in the time it takes the thighs to cook. And if you pull turkey out when the breast is perfect, the thighs will be undercooked. It’s a cruel paradox, and you can blame the massive size of the turkey for that. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to make a good turkey, but it takes some practice, and it’s just easier to roast a chicken so that all of it tastes amazing. And I don’t know about you, but I like to serve my friends food that tastes amazing. That’s called being a good friend.

And if you follow the logic I’ve presented about chicken being better to turkey, that means the chicken leftovers will be better than the turkey leftovers. Chicken salad is better than turkey salad. Chicken stock is much easier to make, because you don’t have to use a 348-gallon pot. Chicken tacos are better than turkey tacos. Chicken soup is better than turkey soup, just as chicken fried rice is better than turkey fried rice. Your chicken choices will continue to pay off for days to come.

But really, the reason you should serve chicken instead of turkey is that these are your friends. You don’t have to impress them. You don’t have to serve a massive, picturesque bird. They’ll love you either way. They chose to spend time with you on the day (or a day surrounding the day) that’s all about showing thanks for the things you value in your life. This is about showing your friends that you’re thankful, and the best way to do that is show them a good time. Friendsgiving is about celebrating in the way your family wouldn’t. Crack the sixth bottle of wine. Put miso in your green bean casserole. Turn up whatever playlist is ripping through the stereo. Eat those special brownies. Talk about politics. Roast a couple chickens. Tell your friends you love them. This is your Thanksgiving. It’s all groovy.

Want an easy roast chicken recipe? Yeah, you do.



Summer Cooking On The Grill

Summertime is quickly approaching. This implies it’s time to start getting ready meals with out heating the home each time potential. If you have not thought-about the worth of cooking on the grill prior to now, maybe now is a superb time to regulate your mind-set.

Cooking on the grill is a good way to maintain the warmth of cooking exterior your private home in addition to to deliver the household collectively for your entire cooking course of. Mothers learn: it is a nice approach to get dad to assist out with meal preparation. Whereas that is mentioned considerably in jest, there’s some reality to the truth that males are way more inclined to slave away over a scorching grill than a scorching range. Extra importantly, a lot of the mess of cooking on the grill stays exterior your kitchen. I do not find out about you, however that may be a big bonus for me, with regards to cooking.

Cooking on the grill can also be a good way to get the youngsters concerned within the meal preparation and clear up course of. We like to make use of disposable plates when grill cooking and maintain the eating al fresco. If you’re hoping for immediate household unity over the picnic desk you would possibly need to suppose once more however there is not something fairly prefer it with regards to not worrying about spills or dropped meals as you’ll be able to relaxation pretty sure that the animals will care for something that will get left behind.

Even babies will help when cooking on the grill by bringing utensils to the grill, holding plates, and ‘setting’ the picnic desk to your eating expertise. In the event you intend to do a great deal of cooking on the grill it’s possible you’ll need to put money into some moveable and ‘child pleasant’ containers for issues comparable to condiments, napkins, plastic ware, and tablecloth holders. Be sure you discover containers that may deal with an honest gust of wind with out flying off too. These could also be somewhat heavier to your little ones to carry however they will not be practically as troublesome to chase when blowing throughout the garden.

Cooking on the grill is a good way to take pleasure in nature after a protracted day of labor. Watch out that you don’t reserve this as a weekend occasion as you will discover you miss out on a number of the enjoyable qualities it will possibly deliver to your midweek droop. One factor that may undoubtedly be mentioned about grill cooking is that the choices are virtually as limitless as they’re when cooking on the range. You have to use your creativeness for max impact although only a few meats and greens are actually off limits with regards to cooking on the grill.

Along with cooking meats on the grill, it is very important remember the fact that you too can prepare dinner all types of contemporary fruit and greens on the grill as effectively. You must also be mindful the superior facet dishes that go nice with grilled meals comparable to baked beans, potato salad, and good cool deserts and pies.

Cooking on the grill is a good way to deliver household and buddies collectively. The subsequent time you intend to have a get collectively why not make it an evening of cooking on the grill? You’ll be able to have one of the best of all worlds with no muss, no fuss clear up and nice meals with good buddies. Cooking on the grill is actually a good way to get the neighbors out and about. There’s nothing on earth that may fairly evaluate to the aroma of meat, fruit, and greens grilling over scorching charcoal. In the event you do not keep in mind and your mouth is not watering simply studying about, it has been far too lengthy since your final barbecue expertise.

A very powerful factor to recollect about cooking on the grill is that it needs to be an expertise quite than a chore. Most of us actually benefit from the considered having dinner underneath the solar or stars (whichever applies in your case). If you have not tried this shortly, it is time to mud off the grill and refresh your reminiscence and your style buds.