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Skills & Gear

Learn how to make the most of vegetarian ingredients, plus check out our helpful cooking tips and suggestions for kitchen tool essentials.

Sunchokes prepared for Vegetarian Times editors by chef Tom Colicchio's Craft Los Angeles.

Crank It Up

Grilling is great and oven-roasting lends awesome flavor, but when you want a quick, easy, mess-free way to sear, roast, and caramelize your favorite foods, broiling can't be beat. Your oven's broiler setting offers the same intense, direct heat as a grill, minus the hassle of outdoor cooking. In a fraction of the time, broiling gives foods the same concentrated flavors as oven-roasting. And as long as you keep a sharp eye on the foods being broiled, you'll get consistent cooking results every time.

Café Blossom on Carmine Street in New York City is the sort of restaurant that anyone who cares about health, animal welfare, and the environment would go for a delicious meal that's in line with their values. The totally vegan cafe is known for its creative dishes that use organic, seasonal ingredients. I recently sat down with the head chef, Shawain Jay (he goes by Jay). During our chat, I got the dish on Jay's latest ingredient obsessions, his favorite meal to serve omnivores, and more.

Great Sage's executive chef Adam Pierce is passionate about using local, organic, in-season ingredients whenever possible to create his spectacular plant-based dishes. Anyone who has eaten at this Clarksville, Maryland vegan hot spot can attest to the delicious results of his philosophy. That’s all well and good for a chef, but what about the average home cook who is a little less comfortable in the kitchen? Read on to get Pierce's advice for how to make the most of local, in-season ingredients even if you’re not a culinary genius.

Tofu is a versatile staple in any plant-strong diet. It’s also a mystery to many people. I stayed away from tofu for years in my own kitchen because I didn’t know how to prepare it. It always ended up a soggy mess on my plate.

Curry World Tour

What makes a curry a curry? "Curry comes from the Tamil word kari, which means sauce," explains Corinne Trang, coauthor of Curry Cuisine. According to Trang, the base of spices and herbs used to season curries can be attributed to home cooking practices that originated in South Asia and spread outward from there.

Love Me Tender

When it comes to poaching, a watched pot shouldn't be left to boil. Instead, you want to keep liquids just below the boiling point, about 180°F. The water should be hot enough to cook foods gently without exposing them to harsh heat. The best sign that you've found the perfect poaching temperature is the formation of little bubbles on the bottom and around the edge of the pot (instead of the big bubbles that rise up from the bottom when a pot is boiling). The payoff for paying close attention to those bubbles?

Can-do Canning

If you've ever found yourself wishing that summer—and incredible summer produce—could last forever, home canning is for you. From pickles to preserves, there are endless opportunities for preserving that don't require much time, effort, or experience.

Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau

Vedge, a vegan restaurant located in a historic building in Philadelphia, is the most recent joint venture by the husband-and-wife duo of executive chef Richard Landau and pastry chef Kate Jacoby. At home, Richard mostly does the cooking, though he and Kate agree it's a team effort when company's coming. In time for Valentine's Day, we chatted with the couple about putting romance on the menu.

VT: What's your current ingredient obsession?

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