QUIZ: Which Season Has Your Favorite Foods?

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By Cooking Panda

One of the best parts of changing seasons is the excitement that comes with new produce. Winter offers hearty and comforting veggies, spring is all about greens, summer is best for juicy fruits and vegetables, and fall is a time to showcase creamy squash and pumpkin. They’ve all got their plusses, but everyone has a favorite, right? Tell us which seasonal foods you most like to eat, and we’ll tell you which season is your tastiest time to be an avid eater.

Featured Image: Pixabay

Tags: cooking, FALL, Quiz, seasons, summer spring, winter
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QUIZ: Are You More Of A Chef Or A Baker?

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By Cooking Panda

We all have our favorite things to do in the kitchen. Some of us love kneading dough and watching baked goods rise in the oven, while others prefer to nurse bubbling sauces with a trusty spoon on the stovetop. Tell us what kind of foods you most like to make, and we’ll tell you if you’re better suited to be a chef or a baker.

Featured Image: Max Pixel

Tags: baking, Chef, cooking, Quiz
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Ice Cube Tray Hacks

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By Cooking Panda


Chocolate Berry Treats

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Directions

    1) Melt chocolate in microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring each time until smooth.

    2) Pour melted chocolate into ice cube tray, filling each slot about 3/4 full. Press blueberries and raspberries into chocolate.

    3) Freeze until set. Serve and enjoy!

    Fruit Punch Banana Popsicles

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups fruit punch
  • 2 bananas
  • 16 popsicles sticks
  • Directions

    1) Pour fruit punch into ice cube tray, filling each slot about 3/4 full.

    2) Slice bananas into 16, 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch slices. Put one banana slice onto the end of each popsicle stick.

    3) Place sticks in fruit punch, banana side down.

    4) Freeze until firm. Serve and enjoy!

    Garlic Butter Seasoning Cubes

    Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, melted
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • Directions

    1) Pour melted butter into ice cube tray.

    2) Top each slot of butter with garlic, lemon zest and chopped parsley. Use more or less of each ingredient depending on your preference.

    3) Freeze until firm. Store in a ziplock bag in the freezer and use as necessary. Enjoy!

    Tags: butter, chocolate, cooking, hacks, Ice Cube Tray, popsicle, recipes
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    Ina Garten’s Weekly Meal Plan Is Envy Inducing

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    By Cooking Panda

    I want to be Ina Garten.

    While I seem to always be able to find time to peruse Pinterest, flagging delicious-looking recipes at my leisure, somehow I never seem to be able to actually get into the kitchen and whip up a wholesome meal for myself.

    For the last week, for example, I’ve pretty much been subsisting on frozen vegetables and peanut butter and Ritz crackers — I’d argue with you that it’s delicious, but I’m not winning any health awards, here.

    Enter Ina Garten, chef extraordinaire, who recently shared her week of groceries and meals with Bon Appetit, and girlfriend is giving me major food inspo.

    Seriously — she eats like a queen.

    On Thursday, she chowed down on a quart of Shrimp and Swordfish Curry with white Basmati rice from local shop Loaves & Fishes, which already sounds more hearty than anything that’s passed my lips in the past week. Then, she picked up some lemon sorbet and shortbread cookies, because she’s Ina Garten, and can do whatever the hell she wants.

    Friday saw Ina casually cooking some skillet lemon chicken and roasted broccolini, as well as a dank sounding vanilla rum panna cotta. Honestly, any dessert that features an alcoholic component is a home-run to me. Because she’s a veritable boss, she followed that all up with some whiskey sours.

    Alternatives to this day include roasted butternut squash with butter and brown sugar, asparagus with Parmesan, sweet potatoes, or broccoli with garlic and pine nuts. 

    Am I the only one who is realizing I need to eat a wider variety of different foods? I want all of these flavors in my mouth, like, yesterday.

    On Sunday, Ina “followed her nose,” which apparently pointed her in the direction of soup, Grey Goose vodka, vanilla ice cream and granola for dessert. I’m down for whatever Ina’s sniffing.

    What does your typical weekday meal plan look like? Are you inspired to try out any of Ina Garten’s suggestions after reading this list? You can discover more of them if you buy her new book, “Cooking for Jeffrey.”

    Source: Bon Appetit / Photo Credit: Pexels

    Tags: cooking, cooking for jeffrey, food inspo, grocery list, Ina Garten
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    Why Are We More Obsessed With Watching Other People Cook Food Than With Doing It Ourselves?

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    By Cooking Panda

    Oh, you silly Brits. Whatever are you going to do next?

    A new study by Lurpak that surveyed 2,000 people in Britain shows that even though Britons are totally obsessed with consuming food media — that is, watching cooking shows, reading cook books, keeping up with celebrity chefs and the like — they don’t spend nearly as much time actually cooking in the kitchen as they do looking up food news on social media.

    According to The Telegraph, the study shows that the average adult surveyed spends approximately one hour and 37 minutes per week watching food-related shows, and let’s be real: I don’t blame them. I have definitely consumed my fair share of Gordon Ramsay TV. 

    However, those surveyed in Britain also spend a total of three and a half hours per week digesting even more food content across various platforms: 20 minutes on Twitter, 19 minutes on Instagram and Pinterest, 34 minutes on YouTube and the all-time high: 44 minutes on Facebook.

    Tack that onto the 58 minutes of food-website and blog browsing Britons do per week, plus the 15 minutes spent snap chatting about food (and the nine minutes of recipe-book reading), and a trend clearly reveals itself: Britons love ingesting food culture.

    So why is it that while seven in 10 of them enjoy watching cooking programs, only half have been inspired to try and cook something that they saw on the television screen? Additionally, The Telegraph reports that one in ten says that it’s been at least a year since they’ve tried their hands at executing a dish they’ve seen online or on TV.

    Michelin-starred chef, Mark Sergeant, said: “This is really interesting and I hope it’s not actually true. We need to get stuck in to cooking — as opposed to eating ready meals on the sofa.

    “Let’s transfer this love of onscreen cookery into our real-life kitchens.”

    Adds media psychologist, Emma Kenny: “Cooking programs have been a part of our television viewing pleasure since the 1950s. Fast-forward to 2016 and there are over 18 days worth of cookery shows available on our screens each week plus social media offering so much delicious content. It seems that, as a nation, we are fixated with any activity related to food culture.

    “We’re being brainwashed into thinking that cooking is too difficult, takes too long and costs too much and it’s turning us to convenience food.”

    Sources: The Telegraph / Photo credit: Missionary Independent

    Tags: britons, cooking, food media, lurpak
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    IKEA Is Opening Up A DIY Restaurant — Are You Interested? (Video)

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    By Cooking Panda

    So we all know that the name “IKEA” goes hand-in-hand with affordable furniture. But did you also know that the company is interested in food and cooking?

    I certainly didn’t. I mean, I know food is available in-store, but IKEA is actually very interested in bringing people together though cooking and being in the kitchen. We know this now because it has announced that it will be opening a brand new pop-up restaurant in London called The Dining Club.

    There are so many cool things about this idea that I hardly know where to start. First of all, according to Fortune, the model is set up so that parties of up to 20 people can come and have one of their own cook a meal for the group. Trained head chefs will oversee the meal preparation, and cooking sessions will be available for brunch, lunch or dinner. Secondly, the experience is free! Cooking, meals and drinks are covered.

    In a statement, IKEA UK Country Marketing Manager Laurent Tiersen said that the experience is “all about inspiring people to rediscover the joy of the kitchen, after our insights showed that people are spending less and less time cooking and eating together.”

    According to The Telegraph, some of the fun features will include having the restaurant named after your group for the time you are there, and the ability to choose your own menu, of which there is a range of selections, with some menus even including a few Scandinavian classics.

    The campaign is called: “It Starts with the food,” and its goal is to show how cooking and eating together can make these everyday tasks more fun and enjoyable and bring people together. Those interested in this experience should register online via the IKEA website. I have a feeling reservations will fill up pretty fast. The promotion runs from Sept. 10-25.

    I’m hoping the experiment will go extremely well and we can try it here in the U.S. soon!

    Check out IKEA’s commercial for the promotion below:

    Sources: The Telegraph, FortuneIKEA UK/YouTube / Photo credit: PYMNT

    Tags: cooking, Dinner Parties, IKEA, Pop-Up Restaurants
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    If Normal Alarms Don’t Wake You Up, This One That Makes The Sound Of Mom’s Cooking Will (Video)

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    By Cooking Panda

    Alarm clocks may be effective at startling you out of slumber, but unlike the smell of coffee brewing or bacon sizzling, they do little to lure you out of bed.

    That’s why Japanese company Nanka created an alarm clock to wake you up with the sound of mom’s cooking (video below).

    Before you get too excited, no, the clock doesn’t emulate the aroma of fresh pancakes or scrambled eggs. But it does emit the sound of chopping and the sensation of steam, according to Munchies.

    The Jikkalarm looks nothing like a clock; it’s a wooden cutting board topped with a knife and a faux bowl of miso soup. It also doesn’t ring. Instead, the knife begins to chop against the board, and a mister blows steam over the soup and in the direction of the sleeper. That way, it feels just like steam from hot broth is wafting at your face.

    Say you’re used to mom’s expert chopping: quick and steady. Set the alarm on “mom mode,” and the knife will chop just like she does. If irregular knife motions sound more like home, there’s also a “newlywed mode” to mimic novice chopping sounds.

    According to the video below, you can operate the clock from the convenience of your phone.

    The sensations of a fresh Japanese breakfast to tempt us out of bed each morning? Sign us up. There’s just one problem: the knife is real, real knives are sharp and having a blade so close to your head and hands when you’re groggy could be slightly dangerous.

    Or as Munchies puts it, “alarming.”

    Jikkalarm is for now just a prototype, so it could go through some changes for improved safety before possibly becoming available for purchase. And maybe, we hope, Nanka will figure out how to make the steam smell like miso soup.

    Source: Munchies / Photo credit: Stacy Spensley/Flickr

    Tags: alarm, alarm clock, cooking, japan, miso soup, Technology
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    Science Lesson: Here’s Why Onions Make Us Cry

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    By Cooking Panda

    Onions, wrote the poet Pablo Neruda, “make us cry without hurting us.”

    Neruda is moved by the vegetable’s bulbous beauty, and Shrek relates to the onion’s possession of layers on an emotional level.

    But scientists have figured out why onions have the less contemplative of us tearing up when we cut them open.

    It’s because of chemical syn-propanethial-S-oxide, according to chemist and onion expert Eric Block.

    “See, the onion is a perennial bulb that lives in the ground with lots of critters who are looking for a snack,” Block said to NPR. “So it has evolved a chemical defense system.”

    The onion – that clever little Allium – contains vacuoles in each of its cells that release chemicals when cut or bitten open. 

    When they’re released, Block said, “a whole cascade of chemical processes happen within an instant.”

    That chemical cascade causes tiny syn-propanethial-S-oxide molecules to float into the air and pierce the eyes of the consumer like stinky daggers. 

    Our tears, then, are no accident by the onion, which attempts to deter predators with its eyeball-burning properties. 

    Even still, it’s the most widely cultivated species of its genus and boasts a variety of health benefits. Clearly, crying won’t stop people from chopping up the veggie for some extra flavor and crunch. 

    Fortunately, Block has a few suggestions to keep eyes nice and dry. 

    Most effective is to chop onions near a fan, so air blows the molecules away from the face.

    Another technique is to refrigerate the vegetable a few minutes before chopping. That way, the molecules will be cold and move to your face a bit less aggressively. 

    Some cooks swear by wearing goggles or chewing gum while slicing onions, but Block said that looks silly and doesn’t keep chemicals from getting to the mouth or nose. 

    Despite these methods, Block said it’s almost impossible to keep the eyes from watering when using onions.

    “Look at you, chopping and weeping. Idiot,” wrote Suji Kim in Monologue for an Onion.

    Perhaps there’s something to be appreciated in the onion’s unique design and odor.

    Beautiful.

    Tragic. 

    Sources: NPR, Famous Poets and Poems, poets.org, Encyclopedia of Life / Photo credit: Andrew Malone/Flickr

    Tags: cooking, onion, science
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