Kenji Lopez-Alt

Recent Posts By Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why Do You Bring Steak to Room Temp Before Cooking?

Q: Do I really need to bring steak to room temp before cooking it? A: The world of steak cookery is rife with absolutisms, and the funny thing is, most of them are either overly exaggerated or downright false. You must only flip your steak once (actually, flipping multiple times results in more evenly cooked meat with a better crust). […]

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The Best Make-Ahead Mother’s Day Breakfast Idea

Q: How can Mother’s Day breakfast be special and fuss-free? A: The trick: Prep ahead, and keep it in one container. I’m in full support of spouses and children scoring extra points on Mother’s Day by delivering hot breakfast in bed. But to pull this off as a treat, that breakfast needs to fulfill three requirements: It has to be […]

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The Trick to Making a Killer Pan Sauce Every Time

Q: What’s the trick to making a killer pan sauce? A: The secret is in the stock. See, store-bought stock might have good flavor, but it has almost no gelatin—a protein derived from the slow cooking of connective tissues in animal carcasses. Restaurant stock is full of it. As stock reduces in a skillet, the gelatin concentrates, thickening the sauce […]

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Help Me, Kenji — Can I Make Tasty Neapolitan-Style Pizza at Home?

Q: Can I make tasty Neapolitan-style pizza at home? A: If you ask any pizzaiolo what the most important element for great Neapolitan pizza is, it’s the 900° wood-fired oven that transforms simple ingredients into the poofy, blistered, charred, light, and crisp pizza that has taken over the world. Because of the high heat of a pizza oven, areas in the crust […]

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Help Me, Kenji — Why Do I Need Tons of Water To Boil Pasta?

Q: Why do I need tons of water to boil pasta? A: Spoiler alert: You don’t. Before my wife and I were married, I remember seeing her standing stoveside, stirring our smallest pot. Much to my horror, she was cooking pasta. Surely with such a small volume of water, the pasta was going to be ruined! Any chef knows you […]

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Help Me, Kenji — Can You Make Creamy Soups Without Cream?

Q: Can you make creamy soups without cream? A: Yes, and the result is even more delicious. The secret is a fancy-sounding but easy-to-understand thing called emulsion, which occurs when you force together two things that do not normally mix. For creamless pureed soup, those two things are oil and a water-based liquid (pureed vegetables). To get these natural enemies […]

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Help Me, Kenji — What Are Your Best Tips for Tastier Salads?

Q: Your new cookbook, The Food Lab, is packed with brilliant tips on the hows and whys of good cooking. Can you give us a sneak peek at a couple of your favorite tips? A: Gladly! Let’s start with salads. Ever notice how halved cherry tomatoes and diced cucumbers can turn a nice chopped salad watery? Try salting them 15 […]

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Help Me, Kenji — Flavorful Convenience Products You Should Keep On Hand

—Q: Are there flavorful convenience products I should keep on hand? A: Yes. Get some Flavor Bombs: store-bought products that instantly transform soup, sauce, salad, or even a main course into something much more interesting. Here are a few I always keep on hand. Harissa, a spice paste from Tunisia, is packed with rich chile flavor and a good amount […]

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Help Me, Kenji — How to Make Crudités Less Boring

— Q: How Do You Make Crudités Less Boring? A: I get really bummed every time I go to a party and see a sad vegetable platter consisting of precut baby carrots and tired celery sticks. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a little effort, the veggie platter can be the star of your spread. The first rule: […]

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Help Me, Kenji — How to Cook Fish Without Stinking Up the House

Q: How can I cook fish without stinking up my house? A: Stick with methods that cook the fish gently while simultaneously creating barriers that prevent fishy aromatic compounds from making it into the air. My techniques of choice? Cooking en papillote and baking with a crisp coating. Cooking en papillote—a fancy-pants French term for “in parchment”—works for any fish […]

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