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How Much to Tip and More News

How Much to Tip and More News

In today's Media Mix, an automated Japanese restaurant, plus Sam Sifton on cockroaches

How much should you tip for bad service?

Check out these headlines you may have missed.

Tipping Policies:Another article to make you want to tip more always: Tipping well might just mean getting a better table next time. But what's the balance between gaining favor with a server when you have terrible service? [WSJ]

The New York Times Critics: The critics convened for an epic talk at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, with Sifton noting that roaches are a part of life. "It's not about the roach, its the way they handle the roach," he said. [The Braiser]

Automated Restaurant: This Japanese restaurant using a conveyor belt allows you to order and eat without ever interacting with another person. [YouTube]

The Story Behind Noma: In light of the upcoming three-part book, Redzepi spills on the early days of his lauded restaurant. [Guardian]

The Original Cronut?A new restaurant in Dallas has opened with a sweet/salty pastry they're calling the Cronut, because the chef claims she invented the donut/croissant hybrid. [D Magazine]

Beans 101: How to cook dried and canned beans

Beans are an incredibly easy ingredient to cook, and the perfect base or accompaniment for many dishes like soup, chili, tacos, rice, salad, dips and more. They’re nutritious, chock-full of protein and fiber, affordable and versatile. In other words, knowing how to properly cook beans opens up a whole world of meal options.

What Is Beef Tri-Tip Roast?

Before we dive into the basics of cooking a tri-tip roast, here&aposs what to know about the cut. Tri-tip roast is a tender, lean beef cut that gets its name from its triangular shape. (It’s also called bottom sirloin roast and triangle roast, so keep an eye out for these synonyms for tri-tip roast.) It’s sold as a small roast from the bottom sirloin or it&aposs cut into a steak with three tips. What makes tri-tip roast stand out from other cuts is the full flavor it promises for an affordable price.

A boneless tri-tip roast weighs around 1½ to 2 pounds and is around 2 inches thick, which typically makes 6 to 8 servings. It can also be cut into steaks or cubed for kabobs. Tri-tip meat should be nicely marbled even though it is considered a lean, tender cut. It is especially prized for its rich flavor. Whether you make smoked, grilled, or oven-roasted tri-tip, you can score tender meat with a just-pink-enough center and a caramelized crust, all in less time than most larger roast beef cuts. 

8 Puff Pastry Tips

Looking for the best puff pastry brand? There are three main choices: Dufour Classic Puff Pastry, Trader Joe's All Butter Puff Pastry, and Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets. The first two are made from all butter, and Pepperidge Farm's version contains vegetable shortening. Some cooks prefer the flavor of all-butter pastry, and think the shortening leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. We find that both options taste best hot out of the oven, but all-butter versions keep their fresh flavor longer than those with shortening.

Packages vary in weight, but most are in the 1-pound range and contain either one or two sheets of pastry. Your recipe will indicate how much to use, but a general rule of thumb is that one sheet will make a sweet or savory tart to serve four to six, or about eight to ten hors d'oeuvre servings. If your box comes with one large sheet and your recipe calls for a single sheet, simply halve the large sheet crosswise and roll it out to the desired thickness wrap tightly and freeze any leftovers to use later.

When shopping, make sure you buy puff pastry and not phyllo dough, which may be in the same freezer case and in similar packaging. The phyllo will likely work in some puff pastry recipes, but instead of one thick sheet of pastry, it consists of many very thin, fragile pieces, so it's more delicate and won't hold its shape nearly as well.

Most frozen puff pastry comes in folded sheets. Let the pastry thaw completely, either overnight in the refrigerator or for 45 minutes at room temperature, before using it. Unfold the pastry gently, and if you see any tears or holes, use your fingers—and a little water if necessary—to gently squeeze the pastry back together.

To prevent sticking, roll puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin. Afterward, gently brush off any excess flour. If you're making a sweet recipe, you can use sugar or cinnamon sugar in lieu of flour, and for recipes made with cheese, you can use finely grated cheese.

Be careful not to roll puff pastry too thin, especially if making any kind of pizza or tart—the pastry needs to be sturdy enough to support the toppings and stay crisp.

Puff pastry + cheese = appetizers that won't last very long!

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Puff pastry is easiest to work with when it's cold, so stow whatever you're not using in the refrigerator, and if the pastry gets too soft while you're rolling or cutting it, simply return it to the fridge or freezer to firm it up. If you're trying to create a specific shape, keep the pastry as cold as possible and it will be easier to make precise cuts. Use a sharp knife, a pizza wheel, a pastry cutter, or simple cookie cutters, and if you're after really straight lines, pull out a ruler or use a straight-edged baking sheet as a guide.

5 Ways to Turn a Box of Frozen Puff Pastry Into Breakfast

If you're blind-baking a pie or tart shell and want to keep the inside from rising as much as the edges, use a fork to prick the surface of the dough (like you would a regular pie crust). The pastry will still be light and flaky—it just won't have as many layers. If you need straight, even sheets of puff pastry for making a napoleon, bake the puff pastry between two baking sheets so it bakes into completely flat pieces.

Puff pastry is delicate, so be careful not to weigh it down with excessive toppings or ingredients that could release a lot of liquid and make the pastry soggy. Be particularly cautious with sticky fillings or ones that could overflow and make a mess of your baking sheets. And no matter what you're baking, line your baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat, such as a Silpat, to prevent sticking.

Just before baking, brush your puff pastry with an egg glaze (one large egg lightly beaten with about 1 teaspoon water) to give it an attractive sheen. An egg glaze can also be used like an edible glue to seal the pastry edges for turnovers, empanadas, or any stuffed pocket-style pastry just brush a thin layer along the edges and press them together gently.

Puff pastry is at its best fresh out of the oven, so if possible, bake it in small batches and serve immediately. If you like to entertain, note that most recipes can be assembled and kept in the fridge for a couple of hours and then baked just before the party. Some recipes can even be prepped but not baked, wrapped well, and frozen for a week or two. (Check your recipe for specific baking and defrosting instructions.) If you want to avoid last-minute prep and don't mind sacrificing some of puff pastry's signature lightness, bake your puff pastry then cool it completely and keep it in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of hours. And if your pastry gets too soggy, simply pop it into the oven briefly to bring it back to life.

If you have any pieces of puff pastry left over, combine them and roll them out to make palmiers or cheese straws. Leftover pastry won't puff up quite as much and it may be a little uneven, but that's less important with smaller shapes.

How to Use Food Before It Goes Bad

Food waste is not a new problem, but during the past several months of quarantine, it has been thrown into stark relief for many with resources scarce at times and budgets tighter than ever, no one has wanted to throw a single unnecessary scrap away. One of the simplest ways to fight food waste is to make sure you use leftovers and extra food before it goes bad—but sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds. Here are some strategies and tips to keep in mind to help you stick to your best intentions.

On average, Americans waste 400 pounds of food, per person, every year! Sounds like a lot, right? But think about those times you didn’t get to that cilantro before it got slimy, or how one bad apple really did spoil the whole bunch. And what about all those un-appetizing leftovers, and all that overzealous bulk grocery shopping—how much of that food ended up in the garbage? Save your food from untimely demise in the waste bin with these helpful food-saving mantras.

Slow It Down

Green Gadgets Products to Help Reduce Food Waste If you find that your good intentions to prep and eat fresh produce are foiled by Father Time, then you need ways to slow down the aging of your fruits and veggies. It could be as simple as proper storage—check out our guide on How to Store Fresh Produce So Fruit, Vegetables, and Herbs Last Longer for tips like what not to store in the fridge, when to trim vegetable tops, and more! Additionally, for leafy herbs, storing with stems in water and a produce bag on top (like this) can make all the difference for keeping them fresh for weeks.

The freezer is an obvious choice for keeping food usable, but you can get even more use out of that ubiquitous appliance with a few extra steps of prep. When bananas start to soften, cut them into slices and put them in a container in the freezer. Now, they’re ready to go for smoothies and banana bread. Super ripe berries are also great candidates for freezing and using in smoothies and desserts later. For vegetables, take a look at this guide on how to blanch, prepare, and freeze vegetables. Blanching (or boiling or steaming in hot water) kills the enzymes that make vegetables lose their flavor and color, better preserving their flavor and extending their freezer life.

You might be surprised at what food you can freeze besides the obvious. And see our guide to the best way to store everything in your freezer too, to help you keep it organized and maximize everything’s shelf life.

Refresh, Reuse

Sometimes we throw away food because it has lost its appeal in the fridge. Leftovers are a great way to prevent food waste, but only if you end up eating them—it doesn’t count if you give them a short fridge stopover en route to the trash. If your leftovers are fried foods, like french fries or fried chicken, reheating in the oven is a great way to restore that original crispiness this can even fix fries that were soggy from the start! Take a look at how to reheat fries, or how to reheat fried chicken, and taste the difference.

Beyond simply reheating, you can learn to creatively utilize leftovers:

  • You can reuse curries, sauces, and broths as marinades.
  • Chop and season leftover cooked vegetables and add to scrambled eggs for an extra serving of veggies during breakfast.
  • Savory leftovers made mostly of meat, beans, or tofu, depending on their original flavoring, can either be an obvious or innovative base for tacos—just add taco shells, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and whatever else you’d like!

The key is to lean into that left-brain mindset, and come up with unusual ways to reuse those leftovers. You can do it!

For some more specific ideas, see how to use leftover BBQ, how to use leftover chili, and how to use rotisserie chicken (which you can apply to any leftover cooked, shredded chicken you have on hand). As for other excess ingredients, see how to use fresh herbs before they go bad, and how to use leftover cream cheese. Still stuck for ideas? Visit our ultimate guide to using all the leftovers in your fridge.

Cook in Bulk

Cooking in bulk cuts down on the number of times you have to set up and clean up the kitchen—do it once, and reap the efficiency benefits for the next week or more!

Some More Ideas 5 Big Batch Recipes to Save You From Cooking Every Single Night One of the easiest ways to cook a lot of vegetables and proteins at once is with a slow cooker. This is truer if you own either a very large slow cooker, or several slow cookers, to maximize the volume of chili, stew, or soup. The next time you find yourself with lots of potatoes, root vegetables, or meat, peruse our list of 15 Crowd-Pleasing Family Meals from the Slow Cooker, or search online for any of the trillion slow cooker recipes that live on the internet—you’ll be sure to find something that works with your ingredients at hand. Refrigerate what you can eat in the next several days, and freeze the rest for later—effortless future meals!

Even if you don’t own a slow cooker, you can still cook up big batches of food before they go bad. As many of you know, spinach is the poster child for bulk-cooking—dump a mountain of spinach into a sautée pan, season, heat, and stir, and suddenly you have a palm-sized amount of cooked greens ready to eat or store. While kale does not shrink down like spinach, you can make a large amount of it more palatable by making it into chips get our Baked Kale Chips recipe, and eat them as snacks, or sprinkle over ramen and rice dishes for additional texture and flavor.

Of course, you can always go with that age-old method of cooking twice as much of any recipe to start, and saving the leftovers. In the summer, check out ideas for grilling extra food to eat later in the week.

And you can deal with an overabundance of some things without cooking too. Too much basil? Make pesto! Too much oregano? Chimichurri! Use your cilantro stems, not just the leaves. See these big-batch no-cook recipes for more ideas.

Flavor and Infuse

Infusing liquids with herbs and other produce is probably the most fun way to use food before it goes bad—all of these concoctions connote gatherings with friends, fancy cocktails, and extra-special touches for meals. Take, for example, our recipe for Cucumber-Orange Water. Sometimes called “spa water,” this idea of infusing water with cucumbers, citrus, berries, and more has taken off for summertime parties, baby showers, and as an alcohol-free option at brunch. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to use that produce that is going to go bad in a few days.

For cocktail fans, flavored simple syrup and infused liquors are a great way to use up leftover herbs or too much produce. Look at our Simple Syrup recipe as a guide it’s just one part sugar and one part water. When you add fruit that is juicy and contains some water, like in our Cranberry Simple Syrup recipe, you cut down on the water a bit to compensate. Make herby simple syrup for gin cocktails, or fruity simple syrup for vodka cocktails (or homemade soda with a splash of fizzy water)—experiment with whatever you have on hand!

The same goes for infusing liquor a lot of it is up to taste! Check out this guide to infusing alcohol for some flavor and timing suggestions. I’ve personally had success with blueberries in vodka (don’t forget to score them first to release more flavor), infusing for a few weeks. Conversely, a whole week might be overkill for jalapeños in tequila, unless you love tons of heat in your drinks—really, a day or two for spicy peppers might be best! (Try making your own hot honey too.)

Finally, you can infuse olive oil with herbs, but if you plan on storing long-term, make sure that you first dry them. As explained in these tips for infusing olive oil, any moisture can lead to bacteria growth, so you definitely want to avoid adding fresh herbs or garlic to olive oil unless you plan to use up the mixture within a week.

Pickle & Preserve

istetiana / Moment / Getty Images

An old-fashioned yet timeless method of saving food before it has a chance to spoil, preserving by pickling and canning is also a great way to capture peak produce flavor and stock your pantry for the months ahead. You can quick pickle practically any vegetable, and any jam or jelly recipe can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks without the need to can it (or up to a few months in the freezer). But if you want to get into longer-term storage, see our beginner’s guide to canning, essential canning equipment, and handy canning tips for total newbies.

While all of these suggestions are also ways to just plain-old “use” food, the key is to keep these ideas at the ready when you bought too much broccoli, have too much leftover chicken, are facing down a bounty of berries, or ended up with extra rosemary after you made that one herby recipe. When you’re not sure what to do with those foods, but you don’t want to let them go bad, think of these themes and get creative!

Become a Master of Enchiladas with These Easy Tips and Tricks

Enchiladas are one of those foods that, when done correctly, you can’t stop thinking about (what’s better than a spicy, saucy, cheesy tortilla filled with meat or veggies?). But when you make a bad batch, they’re a soggy mess.

Roll With It Burritos vs Enchiladas There’s no need to let prior Mexican food mishaps hold you back from one of life’s great culinary pleasures—with a few simple tips at your fingers, you can make pitch-perfect enchiladas every time, without breaking a sweat (unless you really go heavy on the hot sauce, of course).

NB: They freeze well, so you can make a batch ahead to last you through the month, and most of the components are make-ahead-friendly (perfect for a Cinco de Mayo party!).

1. Spice Up Your Life

Enchiladas typically rely on red, green, or brown sauces (brown being the Tex-Mex style featuring a mix of gravy and chiles). Whether you use tomato, tomatillos, or just the peppers themselves as the base, make sure your sauce is a good consistency–about that of cream–and has some nice kick. And please, make your own–the jarred stuff is often too sweet and full of salt and preservatives.

2. Treat Your Tortillas Right

The most important tip for avoiding soggy enchiladas is to briefly fry your tortillas in hot oil before you fill and roll. This creates a little bit of a barrier so that the tortillas don’t soak up too much of the sauce and therefore start to break down.

First, select good, fresh corn tortillas, ideally ones that are made from nixtamal and don’t rely on preservatives. Then, heat oil over medium high and fry tortillas about ten seconds per side, until they just start to crisp and brown. You can drain them on paper towels if you’re wary of too much oil, but don’t worry–they don’t soak up much of it.

Victoria Cast Iron Torilla Press, $24.99 on Amazon

If you want to make your own tortillas, this is a handy tool to have.

3. Fill ‘Er Up

This is the fun part–selecting a filling to suit your taste. You can go for meats, vegetables, cheese, a combination of the above…there really are no rules here. Think about texture and balance–meats should be ground or slow-cooked and shredded (you don’t want to have to cut through your enchilada to eat it) veggies should be pre-cooked. How spicy you go on the filling should depend on your sauce and your palate. Mild sauces can get an extra kick from fresh chopped jalapeños, while spicy sauces might benefit from vegetables like sweet potato.

4. Do Skimp on the Sauce

No, legit enchiladas are not supposed to be swimming in sauce as most American preparations might have you believe. You’ll need about 4 cups of sauce for 8 enchiladas.

Before frying your tortillas, spread about a cup of sauce lengthwise down the center of your baking sheet. After frying the tortillas, dip each side in your sauce to coat the whole surface. This method will ensure even distribution—and less sauce means your tortillas are less likely to fall apart. Once you’ve stuffed each tortilla with filling, rolled and placed it (seam-side down) in the pan, pour the remaining sauce over the rolled tortillas—then top with cheese.

5. Balance Things Out with Garnishes

Once your casserole is out of the oven, sprinkle it with tons of toppings to brighten things up and balance the flavors. Sliced radishes, crunchy pickled red onions or jalapenos, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro lighten a heavy, cheesy sauce, lending fresh flavor and bold color. Take simple beef enchiladas in a Tex-Mex direction with dollops of sour cream and chopped raw onion. If you’ve got a spicy sauce, consider adding a cooling element like slices of avocado or crema (Mexican sour cream). For veggie enchiladas, extra shredded cheese never hurts! Get our Pickled Vegetables recipe.

Enchilada Recipes

Here are some enchilada recipes to get you started:

Beef Enchiladas

Ground beef, red chile sauce, and Jack cheese—simple, but perfect. Get our Beef Enchiladas recipe.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Luscious slow cooker pulled pork in a complex sauce is fantastic for many things, including filling enchiladas topped with melty cheese. Get our Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas recipe.

Spinach-Mushroom Enchiladas

These vegetarian enchiladas are full of meaty mushrooms and spinach, and blanketed with cheese and tomatillo sauce. (Don’t forget the Margaritas and Refried Black Beans on the side!) Get our Spinach-Mushroom Enchiladas recipe.

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Indian Cooking Tips: How To Make Moong Dal Badi At Home (Recipe Inside)


Moong dal is one lentil in the Indian cuisine that is not just rich in nutrients but is also super versatile. It can be used to make a number of delicacies. From comforting dal, crunchy pakodas to decadent halwa, one can find countless delicacies made with moong dal across Indian cuisine. A primary source of protein for vegetarians, moong dal never fails to surprise us with the room it has for innovation. Not just Indian, moong dal has found a place in global delicacies too! Talk of soups, fudge and much more!

And if you wish to experiment with the humble lentil for main course itself, there are so many options beyond just dal. For instance, have you heard of Mangauri? The soft and nutritious, two-ingredient moong dal badi can be prepared to use across curries and chaats. It is a simple recipe, which might require patience and precision, but can be used to prepare multiple snacks and curries.

Moong dal is used across various dishes.

How To Make Moong Dal Badi | Mangauri Recipe

In this simple recipe, soaked moong dal is grounded and rested. It is then soaked in heeng water, beaten till a fluffy batter. The batter is then spread over a cotton cloth, in the size of a droplet and sundried until the badi comes out clean from both sides.

You can store these badis in an airtight jar and use across many vegetable curries. In this same recipe, you can add salt, aamchur, red chillies among other spices if you wish to make a chaat with these moong dal badis. One of the most popular recipes made from moong dal badis is that of Mangauri aloo.

Try making moong dal badis at home and share your experience with us in the comments section below.

About Aanchal Mathur Aanchal doesn't share food. A cake in her vicinity is sure to disappear in a record time of 10 seconds. Besides loading up on sugar, she loves bingeing on FRIENDS with a plate of momos. Most likely to find her soulmate on a food app.

Treat Your Pasta Right.

Are you using boxed pasta or fresh pasta? If boxed, you have two roads: the no-boil noodle and the more traditional boiled noodles. No-boil will save you some time, but boiled noodles lead to a better result. On the widely available end, De Cecco is a good option for most noodle shapes, and that holds true with lasagna sheets. Note those nice frills on the edges!

If you’ll be using fresh pasta, you have the same two roads: boiling and not boiling. Some cooks give fresh lasagna sheets a very brief boil, about 10 to 20 seconds in salted water. If you roll your pasta thin enough, though, you can skip boiling altogether. (Ultra-thin noodles will cook as your sauce and cheese bubble in the oven.)

The Stock or Broth

Once you’ve built up your soup’s foundation with aromatics and seasonings, it’s time to add a stock or broth. No single element in a soup wields as much influence on its taste as its liquid. You will want about a cup per serving: a little more for a brothy soup, a little less for a hearty one. Use 8 cups for a large batch (about 6 to 8 servings), and freeze the leftovers for up to 2 months. You will thank your past self for your generosity and foresight.

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

To paraphrase the food writer M.F.K. Fisher, there is a slippery slope from water to soup. If you have water around, you can have soup. Use water when you’re after clean, light flavors rather than rich ones, or when you don’t have any stock on hand.

Water is never a bad choice, but sometimes stock is a better one, especially if your goal is to make a hearty, savory soup. Avoid canned and boxed stocks. Made with a lower ratio of bones and packed with ingredients — like cabbage, turmeric extract or yeast extract — that you would never add to a pot of stock yourself, they never taste quite right. Instead, either make and freeze stock or buy good quality fresh or frozen stock from a butcher. It will make all the difference.

Other Flavorful Liquids

If you’re hoping to make miso, ramen or any other Japanese soup, skip the aromatics and start with dashi. This broth of kombu seaweed and dried bonito flakes is at the base of most Japanese home cooking, and it couldn’t be simpler to make. Place two 12-inch pieces of kombu in a saucepan with 3 cups of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and remove the kombu, then add two generous handfuls of dried bonito flakes, or katsuobushi. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Strain and use as you like.

Don’t forget to use bean cooking broth and the juice that comes with canned tomatoes. Both will lend terrific flavor and body to a minestrone or bean soup. For a velvety vegetable soup or seafood chowder, replace some of the water or stock with dairy — preferably heavy cream, which can withstand some cooking without curdling.

Or, to evoke the flavors of South India or Thailand, use full-fat coconut milk.

Whether you use stock or water, or add dairy, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer to finish cooking.

How to Make Cloud Bread

There are a few different versions out there that don&apost require any added dairy or sugar, but I found our Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen-developed recipe with all the ingredients to be the perfect way to get my bread fix without adding a bunch of carbs to my meal. To start, you&aposll gather your eggs, softened cream cheese (make sure you set it out for about 30 minutes), cream of tartar, salt, and sugar. If you don&apost have any cream of tartar, you could leave it out or sub in ½ tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar.

Step 1: Whip the Egg Whites

Carefully separate your eggs, putting the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl. Set the yolks in another medium bowl and set aside for now. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until they reach stiff peaks using an electric mixer ($20, Bed Bath & Beyond).

Step 2: Cream the Egg Yolk Mixture

Grab the bowl you set aside with the egg yolks and combine them with the remaining ingredients. Gently fold in your whipped egg whites to the yolk mixture until just combined.

Step 3: Bake Your Cloud Bread

Drop six large, even spoonfuls of the batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in 350ய oven for about 25 minutes or until they&aposre golden-brown on top. Let them cool on a wire rack ($9, Target).

If you&aposre following a keto diet plan, you can make this recipe the same way and leave out the sugar or substitute it with a keto-friendly sweetener such as stevia ($6, Target). Enjoy your cloud bread the same way you would any bread. Top it with some butter and jam for a healthy breakfast or fill it with your favorite sandwich toppings for a lightened-up lunch.