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Fish Sauce vs Oyster Sauce: Do You Know the Difference?

fish sauce and oyster sauce: what is the difference and can you use them interchangeably
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They’re both complex, potent seasonings that are staples of Asian cuisine, with nautical creature namesakes to boot. But that’s about the extent of the commonalities between oyster sauce and fish sauce. Using one instead of the other will have drastic and disastrous effects on the outcome of your recipe. Let’s examine what makes them so different.

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Marzipan & Almond Paste: What Exactly Is the Difference?

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As holiday baking season approaches, one question on everyone’s mind is: Are marzipan and almond paste the same thing? OK, maybe that’s not a universal wonder, but the heady scent of ground almonds is especially prevalent during the holidays, where it graces many baked goods from cookies, to cakes, to croissants and other pastries.

I first associated the term marzipan with the fruit-shaped candies that were prevalent at my German family’s Christmas celebrations, but came to use the term as synonymous with almond paste when encountered in the baking supplies aisle of the grocery store. I mean, marzipan sounds cooler, right? (It’s a long rabbit hole to go down if you’re into the etymology, but basically comes from the root “march pane” where pan or pane is the Latin for “bread.” Despite my association with it through German heritage, and its Latin nomenclature, its earliest culinary roots are more likely Middle Eastern.)

Marzipan and almond paste are not the same, however. The nuance is slight, and has more to do with utility than anything, but let the proof of their differentiation lay in the fact that they do actually occupy separate spaces on the baking aisle shelves:

Odense Marzipan Almond Candy Dough, $9.99 on Amazon

Sweetened and perfect for molding.
Buy Now

Odense Almond Paste, $10.49 on Amazon

Perfect for tucking and folding inside pastries and cookies.
Buy Now

Both are made from blanched and peeled ground almonds, plus sugar. Marzipan may begin its existence as almond paste, but becomes its own entity with additional components and processing. It is typically ground more finely than almond paste, giving it an almost dough-like consistency, whereas almond paste maintains a slightly coarser texture. More sugar is added to marzipan, giving it more of a candied nature, and also almond extract, giving it a more amplified almond flavor. Finally, marzipan typically includes an additive such as honey or corn syrup to give it a more pliable texture.

Get our Marzipan recipe.

The easiest way to think about the primary difference between almond paste and marzipan is by looking at them functionally: almond paste is more commonly a filling, whereas marzipan is a coating, or an end product in its own right.

Bergen Marzipan Candies, Assorted Fruit, 8 oz for $9.14 on Amazon

It isn't Christmas without them.
Buy Now

Several cities throughout Europe lay claim to marzipan candies as a speciality, including Spain’s Toledo, Portugal’s Algarve, Italy’s Palermo, and Germany’s Lübeck. According to an article in New York Magazine, marzipan may be having a bit of a renaissance in the U.S., perhaps due to its Instagram-friendly nature. “Nothing else I’ve encountered,” says author Hilary Reid, “manages to combine kitsch, (delightful), miniatures (also delightful), and candy (delicious).” Molded marzipan is used frequently in cake decoration, and rolled marzipan can also be used as a cake coating, much like fondant, as in Sweden’s famous Princess Cake


Almond paste is more of a workhorse than a showoff. It may also be known as the term “frangipane” in French baking. It’s presence is unmistakable, however, giving flavor and structure to goods such as Apple Tarts, Almond Crinkle Cookies, and Stollen.

You may still find recipes that use the words interchangeably, and there’s no significant harm in using one for the other, except that recipes utilizing marzipan will come out a bit sweeter. Whether you’re working with almond paste or marzipan, the results are always delicious.

Birria Red Tacos Prove Soaking Your Tortillas Is a Genius Move

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Learn how to make birria tacos at home and you’ll never go back to your usual naked tortilla.

A taco isn’t truly complete without a few accoutrements—a sprinkle of cilantro and diced onions along with a splash of salsa offer the perfect final touch. But while the focus tends to be on the toppings, when it comes to the red taco (a longtime Mexican favorite and recent sensation in the Los Angeles culinary scene) it’s the tortilla itself which takes center stage, dipped in a fiery oil bath and then fried for a flavorful and eye-popping finish.

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9 Clever Ways to Use Your French Press Besides Making Coffee

how to use french press besides coffee
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A French press is a handy tool for making coffee, but there’s a lot else you can do with it too, from frothing milk to making cocktails.

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A Show-Stopping Beef, Stilton & Onion Pie to Warm You Up This Fall

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Calum Franklin is a wizard with pies. The self-proclaimed pastry deviant knows how to weave together pie dough into stunning confections, a task he’s undertaken as the executive chef at London’s Holborn Dining Room. Here, he prepares all sorts of pies—from curried mutton pies dotted with mango salsa to swirly, puffed up Yorkshire pudding—flaunting elaborate knifework and pastry decoration you don’t often seen in the U.S. And now you, too, can become a pie connoisseur, thanks to Calum’s new cookbook: “The Pie Room.” 

Related Reading: This Banana Cream Pie with a Peanut Butter Cookie Crust Is Too Good to Be True Read the rest of this entry »

A Lodge Dutch Oven for $40 Is Too Good to Pass Up

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I’m going to level with you: We’re looking at a stressful couple of weeks and if ever there were a time for comfort food it is now. In a rare flash of good news, there are two can’t-miss-em $40 kitchen deals that’ll help make it happen. You don’t have to poke around our cookware coverage for long to discover how we feel about Dutch ovens. In fact, I’ll save you even that small bit of time: We love them, and Walmart currently has a high-quality 5.5-quart Lodge Dutch oven on sale for just $40, complete with free shipping. Speaking of all-star comfort food cookware, Best Buy has slashed the price on an 8-quart Insignia multicooker down 50% to just $40, for today only. It’ll do everything your standard Instant Pot does (check the reviews!) but at less than half the cost. See below for details on these two very excellent $40 kitchen deals.

Related Reading: What to Do with Your New Dutch Oven

Lodge 5-5-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, $39.94 (originally $49.99) on Walmart

Lodge

Enameled cast iron is the much-coveted combination of high heat retention and even heat distribution, making it perfect for braising meats and slow-cooking sauces, stews, and soups. The sturdy enamel coating is easy to clean and safe to use on any cooktop or with any heat source. Lodge is one of the oldest American cookware companies, and its 5.5-quart signature Dutch oven is as low as we’ve seen it this year. It’s available in cherry red or royal blue and ships for free.Buy Now

Insignia 8-Quart Multicooker, $39.99 (originally $119.99) on Best Buy

Insignia

With all of the functionality of its predecessor, the Instant Pot, this Insignia multicooker can be used as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, warmer and more. The ultimate vehicle for tender meats and easy weeknight dinners that taste like they took hours, but definitely didn’t. Not to mention healthy meal planning and even a simple, protein-packed breakfast in a pinch. The Insignia receives extremely high marks in more than 3,000 verified purchase reviews and is down to just $40, plus free shipping.Buy Now

Save $70 on a 6-quart Instant Pot Smart with Wi-Fi Functionality

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The Instant Pot really hits its stride this time of year. If your ideal fall or winter dinner involves some tender, fall-off-the-bone meat situation but you haven’t quite perfected the art of starting dinner three or four hours in advance, then you definitely need an Instant Pot, pronto. Right now Best Buy has a 6-quart Instant Pot Smart—both Wi-Fi and Alexa-enabled—marked down $70 to just $80 as one of its Deals of the Day.

Instant Pot Smart with Wi-Fi, $79.99 (originally $149.99) on Best Buy

Instant Pot

The 6-quart is definitely the most popular multicooker size and the Instant Pot Smart is one of the brand’s most advanced models since you can monitor remotely and access hundreds of programmable recipes through the app. That means you won’t have to do any digging or guesswork to find out how long your batch of short ribs, pork shoulder, or chicken chili should cook for. Best Buy will ship the Instant Pot for free or you can choose free in-store pickup and grab it later today. If you prefer to buy from Amazon, the online retailer has price-matched the very same model.Buy Now

Bella 4.3-Quart Air Fryer, $39.99 (originally $79.99) on Best Buy

Bella

If you’re already set up with an Instant Pot or other multicooker but have had your interest piqued by all this air fryer talk of late, Best Buy is also featuring a well-rated 4.3-quart Bella air fryer down to $40another one day deal. It’ll make wings and frozen snacks taste like they’ve been deep-fried, with virtually no oil and totally slashing the fat and calorie counts. This air fryer also ships for free or is eligible for in-store pickup.Buy Now

An Award-Winning Wheat Bread That’s Going to Change the Way You Bake

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Sure, you could use your lovingly maintained starter to bake sourdough loaves (like you did earlier in the quarantine), or you could attempt a kind of fermentation that’s not as ubiquitous: naturally fermented loaves using yeast water starters. Instead of relying on flour, water, and the natural yeast swirling in your kitchen, baker Paul Barker wants to get you invested in submerging plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables in water to ferment, which creates a natural starter for breads and yeasted pastries that reflect whatever flavors you’ve included. Like a traditional/flour-based? sourdough starter, this botanical water raises dough slower than packaged yeast, producing not only a flavorful bread, but also one that’s better for your gut.  

Related Reading: These Homemade Sourdough English Muffins Will Make You Nostalgic for Your Youth Read the rest of this entry »

Is Shopping the Outside of the Grocery Store All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

healthy grocery shopping tips

You may have heard that shopping the outside of the supermarket is a healthy grocery shopping strategy, but is that really true—and what else should you know?

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9 Short Rib Recipes to Feast on All Fall & Winter

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Any way you cut it, short ribs satisfy with a juicy layer of fat that adds gobs of delicious beefy flavor to the meat. Their chameleon-like adaptability to a broad spectrum of herbs, spices, rubs, and sauces make it beloved in cuisines the world over.

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How to Cook with Apple Cores

apple cores and unbaked apple pie
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What’s not to love about an orchard-fresh apple on a crisp autumn day? For many people, it’s the core, which often finds itself on the fast track to the trash. But did you know that you can use apple cores to make apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and much more?
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Baked Eggs in Mini Pumpkins Are Peak Fall Breakfast Fare

pumpkin baked eggs recipe with bacon butternut squash hash
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These baked eggs in mini pumpkins from Chowhound video producer Olivia Geyelin are the ultimate fall breakfast, even before you get to the bacon butternut squash hash with rosemary or sage on the side.

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How to Carve a Pumpkin Like a Pro This Halloween

halloween pumpkin jack o lanterns
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There are many ways to decorate pumpkins these days, but the classic way to carve a pumpkin is to pick up a sharp kitchen knife and get to work. With Halloween approaching, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to carve a pumpkin, plus other options for those who want an easier (or safer) way.

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This Pumpkin Sourdough Focaccia Is the Perfect Partner for Any Stew

pumpkin sourdough focaccia recipe
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Fall baking season is well under way and this pumpkin sourdough focaccia recipe is an ideal loaf to eat all season long.

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The Key to Getting Stubborn Stains Out of Your Carpet

how to clean any carpet stain
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Carpet and rugs add a layer of comfort and warm up a space. However, they are magnets for dust, debris, and notoriously difficult-to-remove stains. If you happen to drop red wine or chocolate on your carpet, don’t stress—you won’t need to toss them in the trash or get them replaced. Follow these simple tips on how to get stains out of carpet and rugs.

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How to Make Slow Cooker Apple Butter

how to make slow cooker apple butter, and how to use apple butter in recipes
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It’s peak fall produce season, so it’s the perfect time to make an easy Crock Pot apple butter recipe—and learn how to take the basic slow cooker apple butter recipe in whatever direction you want when it comes to flavors.

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Apple Butter Beyond Toast: Uncommon Uses for Fall’s Favorite Condiment

caramel apple cake recipe
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In honor of the ascendance of apple season, here are uncommonly delicious ways to eat apple butter.

Apple butter is the unofficial condiment of fall, and it’s good for so much more than simply spreading on toast (and biscuits, and muffins, and scones). The deeply concentrated fruit flavor of plain apple butter is both sweet and acidic, and even with a flourish of warm spices, it works wonderfully in both sweet and savory dishes. If you’re not quite sure how to use your apple butter, we have a whole bushel of delicious ideas.

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Make This Easy Plastic Bag Holder from a Kitchen Towel in Under 15 Minutes

how to make a bag holder from kitchen towel
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Reusable bags are on the rise, but most of us still have a whole bunch of plastic bags hanging around—probably stuffed inside another plastic bag, but there’s a better way. Make an easy DIY bag holder from a kitchen towel for a much nicer way to store them.

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The Viennese Sacher Torte Gets a Modern Upgrade

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The art of pastry certainly requires following rules, but there’s something to be said about transforming classic desserts into something new and exciting—while still, of course, respectfully paying homage to that original wedge of cake or sugar-dusted cookie.

Related Reading: If You Cut Cake in Wedges, You’re Doing It All Wrong Read the rest of this entry »

A Powerful Blendtec Blender Is Half Off Right Now

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The thing about a really good blender is when you have one, you simply find reasons to use it. I sprung for one a few years back and things have blossomed into a full-on love affair. After my coffee maker, it’s easily the kitchen appliance I use most and right now, a supercharged Blendtec 575 Classic 5-speed blender is down to $200 (half off of its normal price) at Best Buy. That’s $200 cheaper than it goes for on Blendtec’s website and $110 cheaper than it is on Amazon. Plus, it ships free.

Blendtec 575 Classic 5-Speed Blender, $200 (normally $500) from Best Buy

Blendtec

The Best Food & Drink Advent Calendars for 2020

best advent calendar 2020 food, wine, beer, and more
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The best advent calendar hinges on your personal taste, but if you prioritize food and drink, these 2020 advent calendars—full of everything from cheese and chocolate to wine and beer—are all delicious ways to mark the holiday season. There’s even a pork rind calendar for committed carnivores. And of course there are options for your pets.

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