[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhC94i-ALZg&w=640&h=360]Whoow finally a new video right?! We have been living on the Banda Islands for the past few weeks and had no internet whatsoever (most beautiful islands, …

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Have you ever flirted with the idea of cooking up a flavor-filled gumbo, a creamy chowder soup, or a luscious homemade pasta sauce? Have you ever wondered what it is that actually makes these dishes so thick and creamy? Well, the thickening agent used to create such a thick and creamy base for either dish is called a roux. (It’s pronounced like “roo” like in “kangaroo.”)

A what? If this is your first time seeing that word, you’re not alone, and we’re here to help you understand exactly what it is and how to make it.

First off, what is a roux?

In case you’re unfamiliar as to what roux is, it’s essentially flour that has been cooked in fat, and it’s used to thicken sauces, says Trevor White, Concept Chef at Morton’s The Steakhouse in New York City. It has roots in French cuisine, so you also see it often in Creole cooking. We asked the chef to give us insight on the perfect recipe for making this thickening component for some of your favorite sauces and soups right at home. But before we share exactly how to whip up the thickening agent, you should know that there are three different types that are commonly used for different dishes.

What are the different types of roux?

As Chef White explains, there is:

  • White roux: “This one is briefly cooked over heat until it develops a frothy appearance.”

Use this sauce to: thicken a chowder soup or in a tuna casserole.

  • Blond roux: “This one is cooked longer than the white roux and starts to caramelize into a blond color.”

Use this sauce to: thicken a bechamel sauce.

  • Brown roux: “[This one] is cooked until further caramelized into a brown color, which produces a nutty flavor and aroma.”

Use this sauce to: thicken a stock-based soup like gumbo or a dumpling soup.

Now, here’s how to make a roux:

Here are steps and tips on Chef White’s method you can recreate in your kitchen.

  1. A roux can have equal parts fat (lard or rendered), clarified butter (without milk solids) or oil, and flour (cake or pastry flour is the best due to high starch content).
  2. A heavy bottom saucepan or pot is suggested for even cooking and to prevent burning. Slowly heat on the stovetop.
  3. Add the flour and oil to the saucepot and whisk together. Heat over medium-high heat.
  4. Cook the roux, stirring constantly until desired doneness.
  5. A white roux needs only to cook a few minutes until the raw flour taste is gone. Cooking it further, until the flour begins to caramelize, will produce a blond roux. Continuing the cooking process further will produce a brown roux. Remember, the darker you cook it, the more you will need to thicken a liquid.
  6. One pound of it will thicken approximately one gallon of liquid, and a properly made roux is thick.
  7. Now, when you’re adding the roux to a liquid to make your finalized sauce, temperature plays a vital role in preventing clumps. The rule of thumb is to add the cool or room-temperature liquid to the hot roux while whisking, or add the room-temperature roux to the hot liquid while whisking.

So, let’s recap.

First, you want to grab your flour as well as a form of fat, such as lard, butter, or oil, and put the same amount of each into a heavy bottom saucepan and whisk the ingredients together. Stir as your roux cooks over a medium-high heat, and after a few minutes, you’ll have a white version. If you cook it for just a few more minutes, you will have the blond variety, and if you cook it even further, you will have a brown version. No matter which type you aspire to cook up, the key is to be sure the sauce is getting thicker as you cook it.

The post Learn How to Make a Roux, the Secret to Deliciously Thick and Creamy Soups and Sauces appeared first on Eat This Not That.

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Fruit-flavored yogurts are essentially glorified ice cream. Read the label of any fruit-on-the-bottom brand, and you’ll see what we mean: Odds are, high-fructose corn syrup is considerably higher on the ingredients list than actual fruit. That’s why it’s always better to buy plain, protein- and probiotic-rich Greek yogurt and add the real fruit yourself.

We do just that here, layering it for visual appeal and tossing in granola for some crunch. This indulgent parfait is decadent enough to be a dessert, but with exactly what you need to start your day or snack on: a mix of protein and fiber.

330 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 34 g sugar

Serves 1

You’ll Need

1 cup sliced strawberries (Any juicy fruit will work well here if you want to sub in things like raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, and mangoes.)
1⁄2 cup blueberries (frozen are good, too)
2 tsp sugar
4–5 mint leaves, sliced thinly
1 container (8 oz) low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt (Fage 2% is our favorite. If you don’t dig the thick Greek yogurt, any plain yogurt will work, as long as there are no added sugars.)
1⁄4 cup granola

How to Make It

  1. Combine the fruit, sugar, and mint in a bowl, and allow to sit for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Spoon half of the yogurt into a bowl or glass, then top with half of the fruit and granola, then repeat with the remaining yogurt, fruit, and granola.
  3. Pour any accumulated juice from the fruit over the top.

Eat This Tip

Don’t be put off by the fancy cooking jargon; macerating really just means to soak or steep something in a liquid or sugar. Not too fancy when you really spell it out, is it? Plus, most fruit is sweet enough as it is, so soaking it in additional sugar (i.e. calories) is not always necessary.

Instead, we suggest you try adding even the barest amount of sugar (in this case, about 30 calories’ worth), that way you can draw out the natural fructose in the fruit and create a tasty syrup that works beautifully on top of yogurt, pancakes, or even a bowl of ice cream. Plus, you’ll find that fresh mint simply ups the flavor ante and the visual appeal.

The post A Dessert-Worthy Fruit and Granola Yogurt Parfait Recipe appeared first on Eat This Not That.

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Even some of the healthiest eaters out there have a sweet tooth, or at least the casual hankering to gobble down something sugary. It’s hard for anyone to resist dessert every now and then! The trick is to eat it in moderation though, because regularly consuming sugar-filled sweets is not only bad for your teeth, but also for your waistline, as treats like donuts, candy bars, and brownies tend to pack a lot of extra calories into your diet.

However, it’s possible to indulge when a craving hits without derailing your health or weight-loss goals in the process. According to a recent study, it’s all about when you choose that decadent treat: before or after your main meal. And if you choose dessert first, there’s a good chance you’ll end up consuming fewer calories overall. Surprised? So were we.

The American Psychological Association recently published If I Indulge First, I Will Eat Less Overall: The Unexpected Interaction Effect of Indulgence and Presentation Order on Consumption, which compares research collected among four different experiments involving the time at which the dessert was offered as well as the type of dessert. One such study took place in a cafeteria, whereas the other three were online experiments that mimicked a food delivery website. The study of most interest though is the one that took place in the cafeteria. Here’s why.

What did the cafeteria experiment look like?

Over the course of four days, 134 participants traveled through a cafeteria line that either had an indulgent dessert—cheesecake—or a healthy dessert—fresh fruit—at the beginning of the line or at the end of it. There was also a selection of both healthy and unhealthy main and side dishes. The menu was fixed-price, so cost was not a factor. The amount of food that was left on the plate each day was also recorded and used to estimate the total calories each diner consumed.

What were the results?

Researchers found that when participants chose an indulgent dessert before their main meal, they ended up picking healthier foods than those who chose the healthier dessert first and those who chose either dessert last. Those who chose the cheesecake before picking their main entrée also consumed an average of 30 percent fewer calories than those who picked the fruit dessert first—and that’s including the calories from the dessert!

What’s more is that those who chose the cheesecake first were also twice as likely to order a meal like grilled chicken fajitas and a side salad meal over the fried fish and French fries than those who selected cheesecake at the end of the line.

The other three online experiments reported similar findings, except for when the participants were distracted and had a lot on their mind.

Fudge cakeShutterstock

Is this study legitimate?

We asked registered dietitian Cynthia Sass to weigh in on the accuracy of this study.

“I certainly talk to my clients about choosing a splurge item first when dining out, and then creating balance around that item by pairing it with lighter foods,” says Sass. “That item may be dessert or fries. For example, if fries are what you’re really craving, maybe you order your chicken sandwich or veggie burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun with a side salad or order of veggies. If dessert is what you’re craving, maybe you pair it with grilled fish and double veggies, and omit the starchy side.”

Essentially, Sass says that adopting this kind of balance, or a give-and-take kind of system, is much healthier and more sustainable than having an “all or nothing” kind of mindset. After all, if you don’t allow yourself to have that specific treat you’re craving, you may continue to think about it and then end up over-indulging in something similar later in the day. Overeating, especially sugary foods, can leave you feeling sluggish. Which would you rather have: a day of mental torment that results in feeling lethargic, or just accepting that you want the treat and choosing a healthier main meal and sides to compensate?

“This study shows that we may naturally gravitate toward this kind of balance unless we’re distracted,” says Sass. “That is the very reason why I teach this as a strategy, so it can be used mindfully.”

Sass says that there are other derailers, too, aside from just distraction. She categorizes these derailers as such:

  • Emotional, which means eating for comfort or celebration.
  • Social, or mimicking what your friends are eating.
  • Habit, which could include routine sayings such as “I ‘always’ get fries with my burger,” or “I ‘always’ get dessert when dining out.”
  • Environmental, which includes temptations from advertisements of a bad-for-you food within a restaurant, whether it’s visually from a tabletop sign, or verbally from a server who is good at describing that particular food.

Overall Sass, agrees with the findings gathered from these respective studies.

“In my opinion, this research shows that we may be naturally inclined toward balance, which makes sense because it feels best. But, there are a number of factors that can get in the way, and they’re all too common. That’s why it’s important—especially if you dine out often—to have a concrete strategy for creating balance,” she says. “Using it is a win-win because you get to eat what you enjoy, but without the unwanted food coma or next-day food hangover.”

The post You May End Up Eating Less If You Choose Dessert First appeared first on Eat This Not That.

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Your fully-stocked kitchen knife block looks stylish, but can what’s stored inside really cut it? And—if we’re being frank here—there might just be a good chance you’re making common mistakes with your kitchen knives that are actually harming the cutlery and your future cooking adventures in the long run.

“Whether you’re a professional chef, a home cook, or somewhere in the middle, a knife is arguably the most important tool in your kitchen,” says Jamie Palafox, senior evaluator at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. “Though knives can often be incredibly well-built and sturdy workhorses, taking proper care of your knife is what will ensure that it works for you day in and day out.”

Make the most of your mise en place MVP with these tips from sharp chefs and cooking pros so you don’t end up unintentionally ruining your kitchen knives.


Mistake: Allowing your kitchen knives to get too dull.

Sharp knifeShutterstock

If you’re a novice kitchen knife-wielder, you may think that a dull tool is safer than a sharp one in case you nick a finger, but that’s not the case.

“It’s actually safer to use a sharp knife, because you don’t have to exert extra force to get it through the food and it makes cleaner, more precise cuts,” says Hannah Crowley, executive editor of tastings and testings at America’s Test Kitchen in Brookline, Massachusetts. “Any time you notice your blade feeling dull—it’s harder to push through the food, it squishes it instead of cutting in, or it doesn’t go where you want it to—it’s time to sharpen.”

How do you easily tell if your knives are still in good shape?

Try the paper test:

  • Find a basic piece of white copy paper.
  • Pinch the top edge firmly.
  • Pull your blade through the paper, from heel to tip of the knife, slicing downwards.

Your key:

  • Sharp: Slices right through
  • Dull: Tears the paper
  • Very dull: Won’t slice paper at all

And there you have it! But if you happen to discover your knives are dull and in need of sharpening, just don’t overdo it, Palafox warns.

“When a knife is sharpened, layers of the metal are stripped away to reveal a sharp edge. This process is, of course, beneficial to your knife, as you will end up with a wicked sharp edge, but sharpening your knife too frequently will change the weight of your blade and can make the tip of your knife more susceptible to chipping,” he says.


Mistake: Skipping the hone.

Sharp knifeShutterstock

This isn’t just a strategy chefs use to look fancy. It prevents you from having to sharpen your knives too often, so in the long-run they’ll last longer.

“When you hone your knife, you are reversing the bent edge by knocking the sharp edge of the knife back into place. Sharpening requires layers of metal to be stripped from the blade of your knife to revive the sharp edge and isn’t something you will need to do regularly if you hone your knife often. Keep your knife slicing through tomatoes with ease by honing often, and you won’t need to sharpen it,” Palafox says.


Mistake: Not gripping your kitchen knives correctly.

Knife gripShutterstock

It shouldn’t look like you’re greeting a business partner when you’re gripping your kitchen knife.

“I see a lot of amateur cooks holding the knife back on the handle, toward the middle, and gripping it like how you’d shake a hand,” Crowley says. “You get more control if you use a pinch grip, meaning you hold the knife on the handle still, but up toward the blade, pinching the top of the blade with your thumb and pointer finger.”

The three other fingers can wrap around the handle to grip. While this isn’t ideal for every slice under the sun, it’s best for most because it allows you to direct the knife precisely.

“This may feel unnatural at first. Over time, though, your knife will feel right at home there,” Palafox adds. “Most quality knives are weighted in such a way that the blade of the knife is balanced with the handle. This balance point allows for comfortable, long-time use of the knife by allowing the weight of the knife to cut, as opposed to using the muscles of your arm to force through.”


Mistake: Slicing on glass.

Glass cutting boardShutterstock

It actually does matter where you decide to get cutting. When it doubt, wood is the way to go.

“Wood cutting boards are my personal favorite,” says Adam Merlin, chef at Cleo in New York City, who’s particularly fond of John Boos butcher blocks. Segura also adores his wood cutting surface because it’s dense and heavy, making it easy to slice steadily and safely.

“Whatever you do, definitely don’t use a glass cutting board. They’re so hard they will dull your knife in just a couple of swipes,” Crowley says.


Mistake: Slicing on anything too tough.

Cutting on plastic cutting boardShutterstock

A glass surface isn’t the only kitchen knife cutting no-no.

“Cutting on ultra-hard surfaces, such as stainless steel, marble countertops, or glass will cause the sharp edge of your knife to bend,” Palafox says. “We often think of knives as getting dull. Typically, what is actually happening is that with repeated use, the sharp edge is rolled to the side to reveal an unsharpened bend.”

Stick to wood or plastic, Palafox suggests, and find the sweet spot. The harder the wood or plastic is, the more the edge of the knife will roll. The softer it is, the longer you can go between honings, but the board will score more easily.

“Scoring in a cutting board reduces your abilities to properly sanitize between uses, since bacteria can settle into the grooves made by the knife. Wood, in particular, is susceptible to this since it’s porous. Typically, in a commercial kitchen, you will see composite fiber cutting boards, which are knife-friendly and resistant to scoring. A win-win!” Palafox says.


Mistake: Using the wrong kitchen knife for the job.

Wrong cutting knifeShutterstock

Just as every ingredient adds a layer of flavor to a recipe, each kitchen knife has a reason.

“Use a knife for its specific function. Every knife is made for a specific job, either to cut bread, meat, or cheese, and it should be used for that,” says Mario Segura, chef at Umami Burger in Los Angeles, California.

Merlin recommends reading a book or a handy how-to training online to learn each particular knife’s proper project.


Mistake: Letting food pieces dry on your kitchen knives.

Dirty knivesShutterstock

Sorry to break this one to you, but don’t procrastinate on post-meal cleaning.

“Knives should always be rinsed and washed immediately after use. When food dries onto your knife, you have to work much harder to scrub it off,” Palafox says. “Scrubbing your knife can compromise the sharp edge, and, more importantly, can be dangerous.”


Mistake: Cleaning your kitchen knives in the dishwasher.

Dishwasher handleShutterstock

The best tools to keep your knives clean and in mint condition can be found at the end of your arms. The typical dishwasher detergent is very abrasive (to dislodge those extra bits of mac and cheese off your plate) and the jets spray hot water powerfully, which makes the dishwasher a no-fly zone for knives, Palafox says.

“Hand-washing is best since the dishwasher can dull knives,” Crowley says. If you must pop them in the dishwasher, “don’t put them in the utensil holder of your dish rack, as this can dull the edge and put pressure on the tip. It also makes it more likely that someone will cut themselves while they’re putting the dishes away.”

Palafox seconds that: “I have seen more chefs, dishwashers, and home cooks be injured by a knife during the cleaning process than I have while cooking!”


Mistake: Putting kitchen knives away while they’re still wet.

Similar to your cast-iron skillet, be sure to towel your knives off before storing.

“The humidity causes the knives to rust. Wash by hand, then dry immediately to prevent dullness and rust,” Segura says. Give it a thorough dry, then slip into a knife sheath if you have one, Merlin recommends.


Mistake: Storing kitchen knives floating in a drawer.

Knives in drawerShutterstock

Crowley and Palafox both prefer to store their knives on a magnetic strip adhered to the wall.

“The knives can perch right on the strip, so you don’t have to worry about them getting banged up in a drawer or cutting yourself when you’re rummaging around. Also, they look cool all lined up,” Crowley says.

“Knife blocks are fine, but when you buy a knife set, it often comes with a bunch of random knives that you don’t need, so we typically prefer to assemble our own sets, and store them either on magnetic strips or in a universal knife block.”


Mistake: Using kitchen knives for non-cutting duties.

Wrong knife useShutterstock

Sure, it’s quick and easy to slice open a cardboard box or plastic bag with a kitchen knife, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. These non-food slices can dull or harm your knife in an instant. Stick to basic scissors—not your kitchen shears— for a safer and smarter option.


Mistake: Dropping your kitchen knives.

Paring knifeShutterstock

Keep your toes attached and your shoes spiffy by controlling your knife. By employing the grip tips we mentioned before and cutting carefully, you can avoid the biggest mistake of all: Dropping the kitchen knife on the floor (or worse, your foot) and dinging your knife in the process.

The post 12 Ways You’re Ruining Your Kitchen Knives appeared first on Eat This Not That.

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Traditional North Carolina pulled pork is dressed with nothing more than a bit of spicy cider vinegar that’s used to accentuate the meat’s flavor, not mask it. Unfortunately, when restaurants interpret this dish for a national audience, they use the same cheap trick unleashed on barbecued beef and racks of ribs: a bucket of sickeningly sweet sauce made from a slurry of sugar, corn syrup, and other insulin-spiking ingredients. The result: A single sandwich with as many calories as three Big Macs!

We get back to the humble hog treatment and turn out a sandwich flush with flavor and light on calories.

430 calories, 18 g fat (5 g saturated), 540 mg sodium

Serves 12

You’ll Need

1 boneless pork shoulder (4–5 lb)
Salt and black pepper to taste
1⁄2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1⁄2 Tbsp liquid smoke
12 hamburger buns (preferably Martin’s Potato Rolls)

How to Make It

  1. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Cut the pork into 2 or 3 big pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the oil to the pan, and when hot, sear the pieces of pork until thoroughly browned on the outside. Remove the pork and place in a slow cooker.
  4. Add the vinegar to the hot pan and deglaze, scraping any bits of browned meat stuck to the bottom.
  5. Pour the vinegar over the pork, then add the broth and liquid smoke.
  6. Set the slow cooker to high, and cook for 4 hours, until the pork falls apart with gentle pressure.
  7. Remove the pork from the liquid and shred. Toss with a bit more vinegar, and serve on top of warm buns with coleslaw.

Eat This Tip

Not satisfied going the way of the Crock Pot with your pork shoulder? Ed Mitchell, chef at The Pit in Raleigh, North Carolina, provides the details for an authentic, yet home-friendly smoked shoulder: Build a large charcoal fire on one side of the grill (called banking). Top the charcoal with a big handful of soaked hickory chips. On the other side, place a pan to catch meat drippings. Add the pork to the side with the pan, place the lid on top, and cook for 4 hours, refreshing the fire and the wood chips if the heat or the smoke dies down.

The post Low-Calorie Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe appeared first on Eat This Not That.

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