An easier way to chop nuts: Things get kind of nutty this time of year. By that, I mean lots of fall and holiday recipes call for sliced, diced and slivered nuts. Almond, hazelnuts, pecans — all of them delicious in various baked goods, all of them a pain to chop on a flat cutting board. Here is a trick. To keep chopped nuts from flying all over the counter, don't use a knife to chop them, and don't place them on a flat surface. Place nuts in a bowl, then use a handheld pastry cutter/blender to softly press down, reducing the nuts to smaller pieces. This works best with softer nuts like walnuts and pecans. If you don't have a pastry cutter, you can also use small glass (be gentle!) or the back of a metal measuring cup. And here's another tip for getting those nuts cracked, if that ornate nutcracker on the counter isn't doing the trick: Use pliers, specifically one with a curved jaw that can accommodate any nut size.
Michelle Stark, Times food editor