Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

The Secret to Peeling Peaches and 7 Other Tricky Foods

The Secret to Peeling Peaches and 7 Other Tricky Foods

With a little know-how and a few quick tips you can learn to peel many of those tricky foods

Master some of these tricks and you’ll be one step closer to the peeling king or queen of your kitchen.

There are some things that Grandma never taught you in the kitchen. Sure, you can whip up her famous sauce and biscuits without a problem, but when asked to peel that mango — you are clueless! You don’t want to get caught in the kitchen without the proper knife skills to slice and dice that tropical pineapple. And we’re here to show you exactly how to do it!

With a little know-how and a few quick tips, you can learn to peel many of those tricky foods that sometimes leave you stumped. And sometimes, it’s the unexpected tools that can leave you with the best possible outcome. Tired of squishing your kiwis with that knife? Grab a spoon for perfectly intact kiwi slices.

There are plenty of other foods that can give you trouble. Mix in garlic and ginger in that stir-fry without thinking twice about it. Skip the canned version and enjoy fresh peach pie without sitting and peeling for hours.

Read on to learn and master some of these tricks and you’ll be one step closer to becoming the peeling king or queen of your kitchen. Don’t let tropical fruit get you down; you can conquer these and other tricky foods.

Mango

Mangos have a large pit in the middle, which can make peeling difficult. First, place the knife about ¼-inch from the widest center line and cut down through the mango. Do the same to the other side. The ovals, or cheeks, of the mango are the flesh of the mango. Next, use a paring knife to cut vertical and horizontal lines in the flesh of the ovals, without cutting through the skin. Next, you can push out on the flesh and scoop out the diced mango.

Tomatoes

For quick tomato sauces, you can easily peel the skin off of tomatoes. First, bring a large pot of water to boil. Use a small pairing knife to mark an “X” shape in the top, root end, of each tomato. Submerge the tomato into the boiling water for one minute. Immediately immerse in a bowl filled with ice water and allow to cool. Using a pairing knife, gently peel back the skin from the “X” mark.

Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.


Melting Pot

Cream cheese, sour cream, and fresh herbs make a great hack of this Melting Pot favorite dip for your fondue-cooked veggies.

Find out how to hack the chain's delicious signature cooking style here: Melting Pot Coq Au Vin Fondue.

It would have been great to find a brand-name plum sauce that is a perfect match to the ginger plum sauce served at The Melting Pot, but after trying several popular brands, none of them was quite right. The sauce that came the closest is made by Lee Kum Kee, and I found the best solution was to use that bottled sauce as a base and transform it into a clone by adding a few other ingredients.

You'll find that this sweet-and-sour sauce tastes delicious on your fondue-cooked shrimp and chicken.

Find out how to hack the chain's delicious signature cooking style here: Melting Pot Coq Au Vin Fondue.

The Melting Pot sells this thick sauce by the bottle and uses it as a marinade for sirloin in several of the entrees. But there's no need to buy the bottle since you can now whip up an easy clone of your own at home with this new Top Secret Recipe.

Use this flavorful sauce for dipping fondue-cooked steak, chicken, and shrimp.

Find out how to hack the chain's delicious signature cooking style here: Melting Pot Coq Au Vin Fondue.

It's a simple formula, and a perfect sauce to have nearby when you're looking for a classic, great-tasting dip for your fondue-cooked shrimp and lobster.

Find out how to hack the chain's delicious signature cooking style here: Melting Pot Coq Au Vin Fondue.

If you like curry, you'll love this sweet-and-sour yogurt-based curry sauce, sweetened with sugar and citrus juices, and kicked up with just a pinch of cayenne pepper. Use this for saucing up your fondue-cooked chicken and shrimp. It's also good on vegetables.

Find out how to hack the chain's delicious signature cooking style here: Melting Pot Coq Au Vin Fondue.

It only takes a little bit of port wine to perfectly flavor this creamy gorgonzola dipping sauce, which tastes great on your fondue-cooked beef and vegetables.

Find out how to hack the chain's delicious signature cooking style here: Melting Pot Coq Au Vin Fondue.

Re-creating the signature cooking style at the country's most famous fondue chain required hacking the flavorful simmering broth in which all the proteins and vegetables are cooked. This was tricky since only some of the prep is performed tableside at the restaurant.

When a server brought the warm broth to my table, it was already seasoned with a few mystery ingredients. The pot was left alone to heat up on the center burner, which was the perfect time for me to scoop out ½ cup of the liquid and seal it up in a small jar to take back to the lab for further analysis. When the server came back to the table after five minutes, she added a few more ingredients to the pot: fresh garlic, mushrooms, green onions, Burgundy wine, and black pepper. I took mental notes on the amounts and wrote them into my phone before I forgot.

The server told me the hot liquid base was vegetable broth, so I figured some Swanson in a can would do. But later, after further taste-testing, I found the broth in my stolen sample to be more savory than any of the canned broths I tried. I then made a broth by dissolving a vegetable bouillon cube in boiling water and found the flavor to be a much closer match to the sample I had swiped. The bouillon is also cheaper than the broth, and I'm okay with that.

After a few tweaks to the seasoning additions, I had a good Melting Pot broth recipe that could stand up to any taste test. Use this to cook chopped veggies, chicken, beef, and shrimp. And if you want the complete Melting Pot experience, you're going to need my hacks for the six dipping sauces. So here you go: Cocktail Sauce, Curry Sauce, Gorgonzola Port, Green Goddess, Ginger Plum, and Teriyaki.

This recipe is designed for a 2-quart fondue pot. If you have a 3-quart pot and would like a bigger fondue party (lucky you), refer to the Tidbits below for that adjustment.

Check out my Melting Pot Cheddar Cheese and Traditional Swiss Fondue recipes in "Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step".


1. Pineapples

Preparing fresh pineapple can seem as thorny as the fruit's shell, but the process is both manageable and worth the effort. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, and they're rich in the mineral manganese and the anti-inflammatory enzyme, bromelain.

To cut, lay it on its side, slice off the top and cut a 1/4-inch slice off the bottom, creating a flat bottom. Cut down the sides to remove the rind, removing as little of the flesh as possible. If you find the outside too prickly, wear kitchen gloves. For rings, cut one-inch slices from end to end and carefully cut the inner core out of each round. To create chunks, slice the pineapple in two-inch increments. Then stack the sections and slice them into chunks.

Preparing fresh pineapple can seem as thorny as the fruit's shell, but the process is both manageable and worth the effort. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, and they're rich in the mineral manganese and the anti-inflammatory enzyme, bromelain.

To cut, lay it on its side, slice off the top and cut a 1/4-inch slice off the bottom, creating a flat bottom. Cut down the sides to remove the rind, removing as little of the flesh as possible. If you find the outside too prickly, wear kitchen gloves. For rings, cut one-inch slices from end to end and carefully cut the inner core out of each round. To create chunks, slice the pineapple in two-inch increments. Then stack the sections and slice them into chunks.


We had to do a little digging for this one, but we remembered that Chipotle shared its guacamole recipe with the world back in 2015. Because the company took the recipe down, there's no way to say for sure that these are still the ratios the Mexican casual restaurant uses, but they were good at one point in time, so we have no problem following this recipe to whip up some of the avocado condiment at home. In case the recipe disappears again, check out the ingredients here:

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • 1/4 cup red onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 jalapeño, including seeds (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Get the recipe for Chipotle's Guacamole.


I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

Every brand of hummus I've tried over the years has been just so-so in taste and texture, until I discovered Sabra. Now this ultra-smooth hummus—which has been rated number one in a blind taste test—is the only hummus in my fridge, unless I've made this clone. Hummus is an awesome snack as a dip for vegetables or pita chips, since it's rich in protein, soluble fiber, potassium, and Vitamin E. The secret to duplicating Sabra's smooth and creamy quality is to let your food processor work the stuff over for a solid 10 minutes. Also, when getting your Sabra hummus ingredients ready, don't use all of the liquid from the can of garbanzo beans or the hummus will end up too runny. Strain off the liquid first, then measure only 1/2 cup back into the food processor. Sabra uses canola and/or soybean oil, but you may think olive oil tastes better. Look for a jar of sesame tahini in the aisle where all the international foods are parked, and while you're there find the citric acid, which may also go by the name "sour salt." The clone below will not have the proper acidic bite without this secret ingredient, and citric acid also works as a preservative to help the leftover hummus stay fresh and tasty.

Here's a dish from a rapidly growing Chinese food chain that should satisfy anyone who loves the famous marinated bourbon chicken found in food courts across America. The sauce is the whole thing here, and it's quick to make right on your own stove-top. Just fire up the barbecue or indoor grill for the chicken and whip up a little white rice to serve on the side. Panda Express - now 370 restaurants strong - is the fastest-growing Asian food chain in the world. You'll find these tasty little quick-service food outlets in supermarkets, casinos, sports arenas, college campuses, and malls across the country passing out free samples for the asking.

Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken and Biscuits has become the third-largest quick-service chicken chain in the world in the twenty-two years since its first store opened in New Orleans in 1972. (KFC has the number-one slot, followed by Church's Chicken). Since then, the chain has grown to 813 units, with many of them overseas in Germany, Japan, Jamaica, Honduras, Guam, and Korea.

Cayenne pepper and white pepper bring the heat to this crispy fried chicken hack.

Did you like this recipe? Get your hands on my secret recipe for Popeyes Chicken Sandwich and other Popeyes dishes here.

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Menu Description: "Our award-winning Baby Back Ribs are slow-roasted, then basted with Jim Beam Bourbon BBQ Sauce and finished on our Mesquite grill."

When your crew bites into these baby backs they'll savor meat so tender and juicy that it slides right off the bone. The slow braising cooks the ribs to perfection, while the quick grilling adds the finishing char and smoky flavor. But the most important component to any decent rack of ribs is a sauce that's filled with flavor, and this version of Roadhouse Grill's award-wining sauce is good stuff. I ordered the ribs naked (without sauce) so that I could see if there was any detectable rub added before cooking and I didn't find anything other than salt and a lot of coarse black pepper. So that's the way I designed the recipe, and it works.

Now, how about a copycat Roadhouse Grill Roadhouse Rita to wash down those ribs.

Order an entree from America's largest seafood restaurant chain and you'll get a basket of some of the planet's tastiest garlic-cheese biscuits served up on the side. For many years this recipe has been the most-searched-for clone recipe on the Internet, according to Red Lobster. As a result, several versions are floating around, including one that was at one time printed right on the box of Bisquick baking mix.

The problem with making biscuits using Bisquick is that if you follow the directions from the box you don't end up with a very fluffy or flakey finished product, since most of the fat in the recipe comes from the shortening that's included in the mix. On its own, room temperature shortening does a poor job creating the light, airy texture you want from good biscuits, and it contributes little in the way of flavor. So, we'll invite some cold butter along on the trip -- with grated Cheddar cheese and a little garlic powder. Now you'll be well on your way to delicious Cheddar Bay. Wherever that is.

Jerrico, Inc., the parent company for Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppes, got its start in 1929 as a six-stool hamburger stand called the White Tavern Shoppe. Jerrico was started by a man named Jerome Lederer, who watched Long John Silver's thirteen units dwindle in the shadow of World War II to just three units. Then, with determination, he began rebuilding. In 1946 Jerome launched a new restaurant called Jerry's and it was a booming success, with growth across the country. Then he took a chance on what would be his most successful venture in 1969, with the opening of the first Long John Silver's Fish 'n' Chips. The name was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. In 1991 there were 1,450 Long John Silver Seafood Shoppes in thirty-seven states, Canada, and Singapore, with annual sales of more than $781 million. That means the company holds about 65 percent of the $1.2 billion quick-service seafood business.

Along with your meal at this huge national steakhouse chain, comes a freshly baked loaf of dark, sweet bread, served on its own cutting board with soft whipped butter. One distinctive feature of the bread is its color. How does the bread get so dark? Even though this recipe includes molasses and cocoa, these ingredients alone will not give the bread its dark chocolate brown color. Commercially produced breads that are this dark—such as pumpernickel or dark bran muffins–often contain caramel color, an ingredient used to darken foods. Since your local supermarket will not likely have this mostly commercial ingredient, we'll create the brown coloring from a mixture of three easy-to-find food colorings—red, yellow and blue. If you decide to leave the color out, just add an additional 1 tablespoon of warm water to the recipe. If you have a bread machine, you can use it for kneading the bread (you'll find the order in which to add the ingredients to your machine in "Tidbits"). Then, to finish the bread, divide and roll the dough in cornmeal, and bake.

Check out more of my copycat Outback Steakhouse recipes here.

In the early 90's Boston Chicken was rockin' it. The home meal replacement chain's stock was soaring and the lines were filled with hungry customers waiting to sink their teeth into a serving of the chain's delicious rotisserie chicken. So successful was the chain with chicken, that the company quickly decided it was time to introduce other entree selections, the first of which was a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf. But offering the other entrees presented the company with a dilemma: what to do about the name. The bigwigs decided it was time to change the name to Boston Market, to reflect a wider menu. That meant replacing signs on hundreds of units and retooling the marketing campaigns. That name change, plus rapid expansion of the chain and growth of other similar home-style meal concepts sent the company into a tailspin. By 1988, Boston Market's goose was cooked, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Soon McDonald's stepped in to purchase the company, with the idea of closing many of the stores for good, and slapping Golden Arches on the rest. But that plan was scrapped when, after selling many of the under-performing Boston Markets, the chain began to fly once again. Within a year of the acquisition Boston Market was profitable, and those meals with the home-cooked taste are still being served at over 700 Boston Market restaurants across the country.

How about some of those famous Boston Market side-dishes to go with your copycat meatloaf recipe? I've cloned all the best ones here.

Let's say you want to make some chocolate cake from one of the popular mixes that come in a box but you don't have much of a craving for propylene glycol, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, or cellulose gum. Well, if you're making cake from a box mix, that's probably what you'll be eating. Many of those additives are what give the cake you make with Duncan Hines cake mix its deluxe moistness. The good news is we can come very close to duplicating the store-bought cake mix with very simple dry ingredients and a little shortening. By combining the dry stuff, then thoroughly mixing in the shortening, you will have a mix that is shelf-stable until you add the same wet ingredients in the same amounts required by the real thing. It's a great way to make good, old-fashioned chocolate cake without the hard-to-pronounce additives.

The number two Mexican fast food chain nicely duplicates the delicious fish tacos you'd find in coastal towns south of the border: two corn tortillas wrapped around a fried halibut fillet that's topped with cabbage, fresh salsa, and a creamy "secret sauce." It's practically impossible to eat just one—they're that good. And, thanks to the availability of breaded frozen fish sticks in just about every market, a home clone is stupidly simple. If you can't find crispy halibut sticks in your local store, the more common breaded pollock will work just fine here. You can also use frozen fish portions that are grilled if you're not into the breaded (fried) stuff. The real recipe at Del Taco comes with two thin corn tortillas, but sometimes the only available corn tortillas in consumer markets are the thicker ones. If that's the case, you'll need just one per taco.

How about a cold margarita to wash down those tacos? Find your favorite famous drink recipes here.

Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!

This delicious crispy chicken in a citrusy sweet-and-sour chicken is the most popular dish at the huge Chinese take-out chain. Panda Express cooks all of its food in woks. If you don't have one of those, you can use a heavy skillet or a large saute pan.

If those cute little cookie peddlers aren't posted outside the market, it may be tough to get your hands on these—the most popular cookies sold by the Girl Scouts every spring. One out of every four boxes of cookies sold by the girls is Thin Mints. This hack Girl Scout cookie thin mint recipe uses an improved version of the chocolate wafers created for the Oreo cookie clone in the second TSR book More Top Secret Recipes. That recipe creates 108 cookie wafers, so when you're done dipping, you'll have the equivalent of three boxes of the Girl Scout Cookies favorite. That's why you bought those extra cookie sheets, right? You could, of course, reduce this thin mint recipe by baking only one-third of the cookie dough for the wafers and then reducing the coating ingredients by one-third, giving you a total of 36 cookies. But that may not be enough to last you until next spring.

Click here for more of your favorite Girl Scout Cookies.

Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

Update 11/16/17 : You can make an even better clone using a chocolate product that wasn't available when I created this recipe. Rather than using the semi-sweet chocolate chips combined with shortening and peppermint for coating the cookies, use Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers. You will need 2 10-ounce bags of the chips, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract (and no shortening). Melt the chocolate the same way, and dip the cookies as instructed.

In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.

Anyone who loves Olive Garden is probably also a big fan of the bottomless basket of warm, garlicky breadsticks served before each meal at the huge Italian casual chain. My guess is that the breadsticks are proofed, and then sent to each restaurant where they are baked until golden brown, brushed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt. Getting the bread just right for a good Olive Garden breadstick recipe was tricky—I tried several different amounts of yeast in all-purpose flour, but then settled on bread flour to give these breadsticks the same chewy bite as the originals. The two-stage rising process is also a crucial step in this much requested homemade Olive Garden breadstick recipe. Also check out our Olive Garden Italian salad dressing recipe.

Menu Description: "Select pork, hickory-smoked then hand-pulled, so it's tender and juicy. 'An old Southern delicacy' with our famous vinegar-based bar-b-que sauce. Served with fries, ranch beans and homemade coleslaw."

Take a big honkin' bite out of one of these and you'll soon know why it's the Hard Rock Cafe's most popular sandwich. The pork is hickory smoked for 10 hours, but since we're impatient hungry people here, we'll cut that cooking time down to under 4 hours using a covered grill and carefully arranged charcoal. Just sprinkle wet hickory chips over the hot charcoal arranged around the inside edge of a grill (such as a round Weber), and let the smoking begin. You can certainly use an actual smoker if you've got one, and go the full 10 hours. You should try to make your cabbage a day ahead of time so it has time to marinate.

Before he became America's sausage king, Jimmy Dean was known for crooning the country hit "Big Bad John." That song came out in 1962 and sold more than 8 million copies. His singing success launched a television career on ABC with The Jimmy Dean Show, where Roy Clark, Patsy Cline, and Roger Miller got their big breaks. The TV exposure led to acting roles for Jimmy, as a regular on Daniel Boone, and in feature films, including his debut in the James Bond flick Diamonds are Forever. Realizing that steady income from an acting and singing career can be undependable, Jimmy invested his show-biz money in a hog farm. In 1968 the Jimmy Dean Meat Company developed the special recipe for sausage that has now become a household name. Today the company is part of the Sara Lee Corporation, and Jimmy retired as company spokesman in 2004.

This clone recipe re-creates three varieties of the famous roll sausage that you form into patties and cook in a skillet. Use ground pork found at the supermarket—make it lean pork if you like—or grind some up yourself if you have a meat grinder.

Check out more of my famous breakfast food clone recipes here.

Menu Description: "Meaty and spicy, served piping-hot with chopped onions, shredded cheddar, and a whole jalapeño."

When you're craving a big hot bowl of hearty chili to warm the bones and fill your belly make one that has become a classic. This hack of the Lone Star signature dish is easy-to-make, low in fat, and delicious. And if it's super brisk outside, you might want to add an additional tablespoon of diced jalapeño to the pot to aggressively stoke some internal flames.

Check out my other clone recipes for top dishes from Lone Star Steakhouse here.

So good, and yet so easy. Now you can re-create this one at home by tossing a few ingredients into a saucepan. Try to find one of the large 32-ounce cartons of chicken broth from Swanson—there's four cups in there, so it's perfect for this recipe. One big head of broccoli should provide enough florets for you. Use only the florets and ditch the tough stems, but be sure to cut the florets into bite-size pieces before dropping them in.

Grab your favorite T.G.I. Friday's recipes over here.

You're grilling some steaks or baking some chicken and don't know what to serve on the side? Try out this simple clone for a dish that's served along with several of Applebee's entrees. Since the recipe requires converted rice because instant rice is gross, you have to plan ahead about 25 minutes to give the rice time to cook. It's worth the wait. The secret to an authentic, great-tasting rice pilaf is sauteing the uncooked rice kernels in butter first, before adding the liquid—in this case chicken broth. Then, as the rice is cooking, you have plenty of time to saute the almonds, celery, and onions that are tossed into the rice at the end.

Want some more of my Applebee's recipes? I've got a bunch right here.

As far as scones go, the maple oat nut scone at Starbucks is a superstar. At first I thought that we could use real maple syrup or even the maple-flavored syrups that are more commonly used on pancakes today (they are actually corn syrup-based and artificially-flavored). But I found that these syrups add too much moisture to the dough, creating something more like cake batter than the type of dough we want for a dense, chewy scone. I found that the caramel-colored imitation maple flavoring stocked near the vanilla extract in your supermarket gives this scone—and the icing—the strong maple taste and dark caramel color that perfectly matches the flavor and appearance of the real thing.

What is it about Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese that makes it the number one choice for true mac & cheese maniacs? It's probably the simple recipe that includes wholesome ingredients like skim milk and real Cheddar cheese, without any preservatives or unpronounceable chemicals. The basic Stouffer's Mac and Cheese ingredients are great for kitchen cloners who want an easy fix that doesn't require much shopping. I found the recipe to work best as an exact duplicate of the actual product: a frozen dish that you heat up later in the oven. This way you'll get slightly browned macaroni & cheese that looks like it posed for the nicely lit photo on the Stouffer's box. Since you'll only need about 3/4 cup of uncooked elbow macaroni for each recipe, you can make several 4-person servings with just one 16-ounce box of macaroni, and then keep them all in the freezer until the days when your troops have their mac & cheese attacks. Be sure to use freshly shredded Cheddar cheese here, since it melts much better than pre-shredded cheese (and it's cheaper). Use a whisk to stir the sauce often as it thickens, so that you get a smooth—not lumpy or grainy—finished product.

If you're still hungry, check out my copycat recipes for famous entrées here.

Menu Description: "Freshly prepared alfredo or marinara sauce, served warm."

The soft breadsticks served at Olive Garden (here's my clone) taste awesome by themselves, but dunk them in one of these warm sauces and. fahgeddaboutit. You can use these clones as dipping sauces or pour them over the pasta of your choice to duplicate a variety of entree items available at the chain. Use the alfredo sauce over Fettuccine and you get Fettuccine Alfredo. Pour the marinara sauce on Linguine and you've cloned Olive Garden's Linguine alla Marinara. Make up your own dishes adding sausage, chicken or whatever you have on hand for an endless variety of Italian grub.

Find more of your favorite copycat recipes from Olive Garden here.

“Don’t call them fries,” says KFC about its popular side made with sliced, skin-on russet potatoes. What sets these potatoes apart from all the others is the secret breading made with a similar seasoning blend to the one used for Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. To achieve the proper crispiness, the potatoes are par-fried, frozen, then fried again until golden brown.

One important ingredient that completes the flavor is MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a food additive derived from glutamic acid, which is an important amino acid found in abundance in nature, food, and in you right now. Over the last 60 years of study and use, MSG has not only been found harmless in normal amounts, but tests have shown glutamate to be a chemical messenger that benefits gut health, immunity, and brain functions such as memory and learning. In addition to all of that, it imparts a unique savoriness that enhances flavors in other ingredients and makes your food taste amazing. Using MSG in your food is, literally, smart cooking.

Another important ingredient is ground Tellicherry black pepper, a select black pepper from India. Winston Shelton, a friend of Harland Sanders who invented the first high-volume pressure fryers for KFC, confirmed this. Shelton recalled seeing the ingredient when Sanders showed him the secret formula for the fried chicken seasoning he had scribbled on a piece of paper.

While we were shooting the first episode of my TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Winston pulled me aside and whispered to me that Tellicherry pepper is crucial to creating the unique KFC aftertaste. It was a great tip, and fortunately, we caught that moment on camera and you can see it in the show. Later, I conducted a side-by-side taste test with common black pepper and Tellicherry black pepper and discovered Winston was right. If you want the best taste for your clone you'll need Tellicherry pepper, which you can find online and in some food stores. Be sure to grind it fine before using it.

For this recipe, just two russet potatoes are all it takes to make the equivalent of a large serving of fried potato wedges, which will be enough for at least four people.


Blanching Times

The amount of time fruits and vegetables should stay in the boiling water will depend on the food, size, whether it is whole or cut, and the quantity. Because vegetables and fruits are delicate, cooking them for too long (which can be as little as a minute) can turn them limp, soggy, and drab in color. Therefore, it is important to follow the time recommendations.

Blanching Times
Vegetable Blanching Time in Minutes
Artichoke Hearts 7
Asparagus 2 to 4 depending on thickness
Beans ( Green, Snap, or Wax) 3
Beans (Lima, Butter, or Pinto) 2 to 4 depending on size
Broccoli (flowerets) 3
Brussels Sprouts 3 to 5 depending on size
Cabbage 1 1/2 for shredded, 3 for wedges
Carrots 2 for diced, 5 for small
Cauliflower (flowerets) 3
Celery 3
Corn on the Cob 7 to 11 depending on size
Eggplant 4
Greens 2 (3 for collards)
Kohlrabi 1 for cubed, 3 for whole
Mushrooms (steamed) 3 to 5 depending on sliced or whole and size
Okra 3 to 4 depending on size
Onions (blanch until center is warm) 3 to 7 depending on size
Peas (in the pod) 2 to 3
Peas (shelled) 1 1/2 to 2 1/2
Peppers 3 for strips, 5 for halves
Potatoes 3 to 5
Rutabagas 3
Soybeans (green) 5
Squash (chayote) 2
Squash (summer) 3
Turnips or Parsnips (cubes) 2
Fruits for Peeling Blanching Time in Seconds
Apples 30
Peaches 30
Pears 30 to 60
Tomatoes 30
Follow recommended blanching times to assure crisp-tender produce.

Lyre's Amaretti

Lyre’s Amaretti is an excellent spirit for making cocktails for all ages or entertaining friends who don’t drink. For cautious drinkers, it's also nut-free, gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free. Try pouring an ounce over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Since it's alcohol-free, it’s a fun dessert for the whole family.

“Lyre's Amaretti is my absolute favorite almond liqueur," says Anthony Baker, a former bartender at RedFarm and current bartender at Momentum Mixology in New York City. "The current ones on the market, which obviously contain alcohol, are all too thick and too sweet. This non-alcoholic liqueur isn't too sweet—making it perfect for a base spirit in a refreshing cocktail.”


Fruit Chutney recipes: Try these 5 delicious and interesting recipes of healthy fruit dips to spruce up your meals:

1. Pomegranate Chutney

Have you ever tried chutney made from pomegranate? It's about time you did! This recipe shows you a new way to eat this amazing fruit, which, among other things, is healthy for your digestive system, immunity, heart, as well as skin and hair.

Fruit Chutney Recipes: Healthy Pomegranate Chutney

2. Jamun Chutney (Plum Chutney)

One of the best summer fruits, jamunhas a special place in every desi's heart. Convert this pretty purple fruit into a chutney this summer, with this amazing recipe that is easy to follow and can be attempted at home.

Fruit Chutney Recipes: Jamun chutney

3. Guava Chutney

Did you know that guava has more vitamin C than even lemons and oranges? Apart from being rich in this essential vitamin, guavas also contain vitamin A for eye health and good amounts of protein. Turn this superbly nutritious fruit into a chutney with this recipe.

Fruit Chutney Recipes: Guava chutney

4. Mango Chutney (Chhundo)

This traditional desi chutney enjoys a special place in summer menus around the country. Made from raw mango, this 'jam' is spiced with cumin, turmeric and chilli powder. The simplicity of the flavours is what makes this chutney extremely popular with everyone.

Fruit Chutney Recipes: Mango chutney or chhunda

5. Date Chutney

Dates, or khajoor, are also used in a number of home remedies. Apart from being rich in antioxidants and calcium, dates are also known for their fibre-content, which may help you lose weight and keep blood sugar levels in control. Enjoy this delicious and healthy dates chutney with parathas to reap the fruit's benefits.

Fruit Chutney Recipes: Dates chutney

Chutneys are instant crowd pleasers. Whether they are made from fruits or from berries, chutneys are popular with all types of foodies and can be used to prepare a quick snack. These chutneys will soon replace your regular store-bough jams! Know of any more fruits that can be converted into delicious chutneys, let us know in the comments below.


Keto Fruit List

FoodServing sizeNet carbs (g)
Avocados1/2 fruit (100g)1.8
Raspberries1/2 cup (61.5g)3.3
Blueberries1/2 cup (74g)8.9
Blackberries1/2 cup (72g)3.1
Coconuts, flesh1/2 cup (40g)2.5
Cranberries1/2 cup (55g)4.6
Currants1/2 cup (56g)5.3
Strawberries1/2 cup (76g)4.3
Lemons1 lemon (58g)5.4
Limes1 lime (67g)5.2
Monk Fruit Extract1/32 tsp0
Olives1/2 cup (67g)2.2
Tomatoes1 cup (180g)4.8
Watermelon *1/2 cup (76g)5.5

*Note: Watermelon is a bit controversial and some people may say it’s not keto friendly. Use moderation and proceed with caution.


10 Dragon Fruit Recipes You Need To Blend Up This Week

Any time you've scrolled through a food influencer&rsquos Instagram page, you&rsquove likely come across those hard-to-miss bright pink smoothie bowls covered in a rainbow hue of toppings. The fruit behind these masterpieces? It&rsquos often dragon fruit&mdashalso known as pitaya&mdashwhich is the fruit of a cactus plant boasting a creamy white flesh and flecked with small edible seeds, says Krista Linares, RDN, founder and owner of Nutrition con Sabor. While originally indigenous to the Americas, mainly Mexico and Central America, it&rsquos now also cultivated in a variety of tropical regions in Asia and Australia. Many Americans in hot climates even grow it in their backyard!

If you haven&rsquot tried dragon fruit yet, you&rsquore seriously missing out. It has a delicate, mild flavor that Linares describes as a cross between a kiwi and watermelon. It pairs well with more powerful-tasting tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, she says, but you can as easily include it in vegetable-centric salads for a dash of sweetness.

To find your ideal dragon fruit at the grocery store, think about how you&rsquod choose an avocado. &ldquoYou want to feel the dragon fruit and choose one that has a little bit of give to it, but is not extremely soft,&rdquo says Linares. Preparing it is super simple, too. All you need to do is cut the fruit in half and peel the flesh right out of the rind. For your convenience, though, many brands like PitayaPlus, Foraging Organics, and Pitaya Foods sell handy packets of pureed, frozen or freeze-dried powdered dragon fruit that are ready to go the second they arrive at your door.

Dragon fruit is best eaten raw. &ldquoLook for recipes that use raw dragon fruit like smoothies or sorbets,&rdquo Linares says. &ldquoA simple fruit salad would also make a great choice for dragon fruit.&rdquo

Ready to whip up something deliciously refreshing and dragon fruit-forward? Start with these 10 delectable, sweet (and even some savory) dragon fruit recipes.