Category: Food Rant

Alternative Pasta Cooking Method

Photo credit: Google, http://www.kidspot.com.au

In terms of pasta cooking methodology, all I’ve ever known was to add dried pasta to boiling salted water. But have you ever considered a different, and debatably faster, method?

I first heard about this method on an episode of Alton Brown’s podcast, The Alton Browncast. He suggested adding noodles to salted water BEFORE bringing the water to the boil. While the concept might seem ridiculous or weird to you, I really recommend using this cooking method the next time you want to make pasta.

I think this technique works the best with small pastas like macaroni or penne, and quite frankly, those are usually the ones I have trouble cooking properly. Not only does this method cut down cooking time, it also makes it easier to get pasta cooked perfectly al dente….if you do it right.

My tips for trying this out:

1. Use a ratio of 4:1 in terms of water to pasta- too little water can really make a difference in the texture of the pasta.

2. Try not to keep the pot covered after five minutes or else it might boil over.

3. Stir the pasta occasionally, or add some oil to the pasta water. I found that this method results in less pasta sticking to each other, but it doesn’t hurt to stir every once in a while.

4. This cooking method is perfect for whole wheat pasta. Have you guys found that whole wheat pasta is really hard to cook properly? Mine used to always turn out soft on the outside and almost raw on the inside. Bringing whole wheat pasta to a boil with the water ensures that the inside is cooked through and takes away from the frustration that can be whole wheat pasta.

5. If you want to cook angel hair or spaghetti or any other long pasta like this, make sure you have enough water to cover, or just break the noodles in half so that they can fit in the pot. I used to never believe in breaking pasta in half, but it’s really not that different!

 

If you’ve never used this method before, give it a try and let me know your thoughts! Comment below or Tweet me, I appreciate all of your feedback!

Josh

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Greek Yogurt

It’s tangy, it’s thick, and it’s high in proteins. Greek yogurt is one of those international foods that have suddenly caught on with the masses of America. And for good reason- this stuff has a ton of great qualities. It’s really healthy, it’s different and new to the American market and palette, and when it comes down to it, it tastes pretty good too. But did you know there are so many ways to eat this delicacy from the Mediterranean? Did you know that Greek yogurt doesn’t have to be eaten in a cup with fruit swirled in?

I actually prefer to use Greek yogurt in cooking over eating it plain/with honey or fruit. For all of you sour cream and mayo lovers out there: who doesn’t love a good dollop of sour cream on their nachos or tacos or cole slaw or chicken salad with real mayo?! The truth is, these are not exactly the most healthy of choices out there. There are better alternatives that don’t involve “fat-free”.  This white creamy, and slightly tangy yogurt is naturally non-fat, full of proteins and calcium, and also contains a lot of abiotics, which makes it a lot easier to digest than normal yogurt.

Greek yogurt is a perfect substitute for sour cream. It has that dairy/tangy taste to it as well so there is pretty much no reason to not try it! Add a squeeze or two of lime or lemon and it is perfect for tacos, nachos, and anything Mexican! Add lime or lemon juice, your favorite seasoning (Old Bay, Mexican spices, Ms. Dash, etc) or a little bit of those onion dip premixed spices and you have a great dip for chips and crackers at a party.

Credit: Bon Appetit Magazine

In dishes like chicken, potato salad, mac and cheese, or cole slaw, Greek yogurt can be used as a complete substitute as well. I would only recommend that for people that love the taste of Greek yogurt. If you want a substitute that cheats the flavor, I would suggest substituting half of the original recipe for Greek yogurt. That way, you can get the flavor and taste of mayo, while also adding a healthy aspect to an otherwise relatively unhealthy dish. Don’t be scared to experiment! If you are hesitant to this substitute, try only subbing out a third of the mayo for the Greek yogurt. I promise you won’t even be able to tell the difference! The other great thing about Greek yogurt is that texturally, it is thicker, so it is actually better for cole slaw because it won’t get the slaw as liquid-y and soupy as mayo would.

Almost all brands of Greek yogurt are good, relatively cheap, and at almost all regular grocery stores. My personal favorite is Chobani, but Dannon, Oikos, and even Yoplait are also good brands as well. Remember to substitute the sour cream or mayo for plain Greek yogurt! Stay healthy!