Though it's the way most of us consume them, salsas are not just for chips. That limitation is a shame, because these Mexican table sauces can be so much more than watery blend of canned tomatoes and vinegar intended for scoping.I was born in Mexico, so fresh, bright and bold salsas are close to my heart.
So, join me on a virtual south-of-the-border trip, and learn the basic techniques of making the perfect homemade… read more
Some anthropologists argue that just one dominant feature separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom: we use fire and heat to cook our food. Like salt, smoking has long been a means of preserving food, and over time, we've learned that it also tastes pretty awesome as well. Those flavors are why we're still willing to use the grill and light fires when we have access to electric heating elements: the taste just can't be matched.
Many drinks and spirits come with smoky qualities - lots of teas, coffee, beer, and whiskeys. But you can also smoke entire cocktails or mixed drinks to add a whole other level of flavor and complexity. As my friend Mike remarked after trying one of my smoked Old Fashioneds, "I don't know if I can ever drink a regular one… read more
A bicycle is an amazing machine. Easy to ride, but full of all sorts of moving parts that work together smoothly when everything is aligned, just so. As an active cyclist, I advocate for making friends with your local shop - they'll likely give you basic adjustments for free. But there's plenty of tune-ups you can do at home to keep things running smoothly, and save the trip.
So, as riding season seems to finally be poking its head in and cyclists of all types are getting prepped to ride regularly, here are five easy tune-ups you can do to get your bike ready for spring. … read more
A cocktail is a mixed drink that contains at least one base spirit and a modifier (liqueurs, bitters, fortified wines) mixed with something to give the cocktail a little flavor, such as another spirit, fruit juice, etc.
A highball, on the other hand, is much more basic. It's a single spirit and a non-alcoholic mixer, and rather than being built in a shaker or a mixing glass, they're typically assembled in the very vessel in which you'll drink… read more
They say if you learn just three chords, you can play a million songs...
And? They're right. Any musician can tell you the I-IV-V permeates the majority of popular music, and knowing that progression is the trick for picking up an instrument and playing along with a song you've never heard before.
The same is true for the class of mixed drinks called a highball. Many of these classic combos are just known by the name of the ingredients - gin and tonic, rum and Coke, and the like. They're a huge hit at get-togethers and parties, because they can be easily built without any special tools barware (i.e. no shaking), and folks can stick with the same spirit and change up the mixer for a little variety throughout the… read more
This time of year, footwear choices can be a gamble. Overthink it, and you're stuck in snow or hiking boots all day. Under prepare, and your socks and feet stay wet, cold, and covered in road salt. The answer, of course, is to opt for the middle, and choose a natural weather-resistant material that's stylish no matter what the season:… read more
Everytime I have a layover at the airport, I like to walk around the terminal and watch people...guess where they're going, why they're traveling. And everytime, I inevitably walk by the shoe shine stand, sometimes occupied, and sometimes not, and I think to myself, "Someday, I'm gonna own a pair of shoes that deserve to be shined for $14 in the airport.
You don't find too many recipes that begin with, "First a note about substituting ingredients or tools. Don't. This method has been exhaustively tested and retested for excellence and the smallest variation can result in catastrophic and unintended consequences."
Somehow, that deserves to be respected, and when the blog post is entitled "Perfect"… read more
Last week, the unthinkable happened: the pages of my notebook separated from the cover.
Okay, well, it's not really unthinkable...I'm pretty tough on it. It goes everywhere with me, falls off the workbench daily, gets covered in sawdust and paint, regular interacts with power tools and sharp things, and I'm pretty sure this is the one I threw across the room when I just couldn't get the math right for a project.I've had this one for nearly two years, and it's spine has been covered and reinforced by layers of duct tape for more than half its life. So, unthinkable? No, but discouraging, nonetheless. This thing still has at least 20%… read more
We're nearing August, and the whole northern hemisphere is well into prime grilling season. By this point, your grilling game is at its peak - you're well seasoned, and so are you grates. You've been trying a few recipes you've never done before, learning how to better control your fire, so now it's time to revisit a classic, and perfect the burger.
If you're gonna go through the effort of making burgers at home, make them amazing.
You've heard the worn-out phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread." But, really, this overused comment only highlights a deeper observation; that being, why sliced bread is such a great invention in the first place. It is, of course, because sliced bread leads to sandwiches. They are, perhaps, Western culture's greatest culinary achievement, named after an aristocratic gambler, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who requested that his valet bring him his meat tucked between two slices of bread so that he could continue to eat while playing cards, without getting his cards greasy or put them down to dine.
Whether that story is true or not, no one can deny the magic of combining baked grains with other food stuffs to create a portable, all-in-one-bite package. Nearly every Western culture has its variation: the pizza, the taco, the flatbread wrap, so one thing's for sure: the combo of a grain-based dough, some meat and veggies, a little sauce, maybe a bit of cheese, is better than simply sliced bread. It's the greatest thing in the world. … read more
Unless you're Orville Redenbacher or a member of the Nation of Islam, you're more of an occastionalbow tie wearer rather than a daily guy. Or perhaps you've never worn one, and have no idea what you'd look like in a real, hand tied deal rather than that ribbon-y thing from the tuxedo rental place.
Either way - you likely don't remember exactly how to… read more
I wasn't always a bedmaker. It wasn't until I was living in the dorms in college, and my bed also had to serve as the sofa, chair, desk, laundry-folding area, and dining table that I got in the habit of the daily bedclothes readjusting. And my bed needs it, cause I sleep like a freaking tornado and things end up in impossible places.
There are drinks that are fairly easy to serve, such as beer and wine, as you simply need to open and pour. Many spirits can be enjoyed in nearly the same way: whiskey neat, brandy in a glass, sake warmed. There are the highballs that are fairly easy to figure out: the vodka cranberry, rum and Coke, gin and tonic. There are the drinks that are so open to interpretation, you'll likely never make them the same way twice: the Bloody Mary comes to mind, as does any number of adverturous use-what-you-have mixes.
But then, there are the classic cocktails, those time-proven combinations that have proven themselves for decades. Besides being tasty, these have emerged as the standards for a reason: they're made from typical ingredients that you can find easily, at any store, and probably should be keeping in your own home bar.
They're so essential, I'm making the claim that every man should have these recipes memorized so he can shake one up at a moment's notice. Trust me, you want to be that guy that knows how to mix drinks: at a get together, after a date, at a work function or meeting. None of these are particularly difficult to commit to memory, and once you've got 'em, you've got 'em, and they'll never go out… read more
Sooner or later, you're gonna have to do it. It may be because you lost a little weight, and now it's time to notch over one more, and you're plumb out of holes. Maybe it'll be due to the fact that different pairs of pants sit on your body at different places. Or it may be that you'll simply had that belt for a little while, and the leather has stretched a bit.
But, at some point, you're gonna have to punch a hole in a belt. And if you do it right, it can look perfectly in line with the others, like it's been there the entire… read more
With Valentine's Day occurring in the middle of next week, many couples will be headed out this weekend to celebrate. Whether such plans are on your radar, or you're generally interested in looking snazzy without seeming like you just came from a sales meeting, we thought we'd share some basic ideas and tips to, well, nail it. … read more
Whether you're stuck without the appropriate tools, or just want an opportunity to show off some cool parlor tricks, there are plenty of ways to open a beer or other capped bottle without an manufactured bottle opener. Since we got such a great response for our Five Ways to Open a Wine Bottle Without a Corkscrew, we thought we'd assemble five of these beer bottle tricks.
Oh, and yes, it is possible to do this with your teeth, but please, please don't. It's not worth it, and people aren't really laughing with you...
1. With a lighter. Check out this classic simple machine principle at work from the Wired wiki.… read more