Cooking Tips

Technique Tuesday: Meet Marsala

Written on February 12, 2014 at 11:05 am , by

Ever see Marsala wine in a recipe and wonder, “Can I just drink it?” Guess what: You can sip the Sicilian beverage (especially today, on National Drink Wine Day)! It tastes great with cured meats and aged cheeses. But remember that it’s fortified, so a grape spirit, such as brandy, has been added to preserve the wine. There are dry and sweet versions: Dry has a rich, smoky flavor that’s ideal for sauces (think chicken marsala); sweet is sometimes used to give tiramisu its boozy kick. Try using it in these dishes:

 

Mushroom Soup with Marsala

Red Chicken Marsala

Sliced Steak & Mushroom Sandwiches

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Kitchen Technique Tweak: Meatballs, Fall In!

Written on August 6, 2013 at 10:00 am , by

Meatball Technique - Illustration by Alice Tait

Illustration by Alice Tait

 

“I was surprised to learn how Daniel Holzman, executive chef at the Meatball Shop in NYC, cooks his signature lamb meatballs: He lines the meatballs up, slightly touching, in a baking dish. When testing his recipe I compared his baking method with two others: browning them in a skillet and braising them in sauce. Daniel won, hands down. The tight rows ensure perfectly shaped balls and they develop a nicely browned crust in the oven. Plus, make-ahead is a snap. Cover the cooked meatballs with foil and refrigerate them for up to three days. To reheat, just pop the covered dish into a 300° oven for 20 minutes. This is how I’m cooking my meatballs from now on!”

–Katie Barreira, Senior Test Kitchen Associate


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Technique Time: Searing Secrets

Written on May 14, 2013 at 11:05 am , by

A perfectly browned sear on everything from steak to stew meat creates a flavorful crust and juicy interior. Just follow these four easy searing commandments.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step

Commandment #1: Thou shalt pat the meat dry.

 

If excess moisture (aside from butter, oil or fat) is present, the meat will steam, not sear.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step 2

Commandment #2: Thou shalt get the pan hot.
Really hot.

 

Intense heat creates the tasty, burnished crust you’re looking for.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step 3

Commandment #3: Thou shalt be patient.

 

Hands off–and we mean it! If the meat isn’t touching the hot pan

(because you keep moving it), it won’t brown properly.

Cooking Tips: How To Sear Meat, Step 4

Commandment #4: Thou shalt take turns.


To achieve a uniform sear, each side of the meat needs equal attention. However, try to keep flipping of the meat to a minimum as it will dry and toughen the meat.

 
(Illustrations by Claudia Pearson)

 

 

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How To Roast Peppers

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How to Roast Peppers

Written on May 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm , by

Roasting peppers teases out their sweetness and gives them a smoky edge (And they make Rachael’s Birds in a Nest with Peppers & Sausage oh so good.) Jarred roasted peppers are a good shortcut, but you’ll get a fresher flavor and firmer texture by making your own. It couldn’t be easier: Follow our to-do tutorial below, heat up the broiler and get cooking!

Birds in a Nest with Peppers & Sausage

Get Rach’s Birds in a Nest with Peppers & Sausage recipe!

 

 

1. Place the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan and broil, turning often with tongs, until blistered all over, about 8 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

2. While warm, stick the peppers in a glass or metal bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

3. Remove the peppers from the bowl and peel off the skin. Cut out the stem and ribs, toss the seeds and you’re done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illustrations by Emma Kelly

That’s it! Now, get roastin’ and share your success stories with us below in our comments!

Technique Time: Whip It Good

Written on May 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by

Red Velvet Meltcakes Recipe When a recipe like our Red Velvet Meltcakes (pictured left) calls for beating heavy cream or egg whites, it will often mention soft or stiff peaks. How do you tell what’s what? You can see where you stand by just lifting up the beaters.

 

  • Soft Peaks will be thick but still droopy and are perfect for dollop-friendly whipped cream.
  • Stiff Peaks will stick up straight from the beaters and are what you’re looking for when making meringue.
Technique-Whipping Soft and Stiff Peaks

Illustration: Claudia Pearson

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Orange You Glad It’s Time For Dessert?

Written on April 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm , by

Here’s an almost-instant dessert: Orange & Ice Cream Trifles. All you need are oranges, orange marmalade, lemon juice, pound cake and vanilla ice cream. What’s better than a 5-ingredient recipe on a weeknight? Get the recipe here.  Then, keep reading to learn how to make it one pretty treat.

Orange & Ice Cream Trifles

Upgrade your dessert by cutting your oranges into pretty segments (“supremes in chef lingo). Just follow our how-to steps below!

Scratch pad

 

 

Prep it!

Cut a small slice off the top and bottom, exposing some of the flesh. Stand the fruit up on one flat side.

 

 

 

 

 

scratch pad image2

Pare it! 

Cut from top to bottom along the curve of the fruit, removing the peel and bitter white pith.

 

 

scratch pad image3

 

 

 

Section it! 

Over a bowl, make a slice on each side of each segment along the membrane and use the knife blade to lift out the freed fruit wedge.

 

 

Illustrations by Emma Kelly

How To Make DIY Almond Milk

Written on April 9, 2013 at 10:24 am , by

“I blend creamy almond milk into smoothies, stir it into my tea and pour it on my cereal. It’s easy to make your own—plus, homemade tastes fresher and is way cheaper!” —Katie Barreira, Senior Test Kitchen Associate

DIY Almond Milk

(Illustrations by Claudia Pearson)

  1. To make 4 cups of almond milk, soak 2 cups raw almonds and 5 cups water in a bowl for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Mix the almonds and water in a blender on high until frothy and smooth, about 5 minutes. (It will seem like a really long time, but just keep blending!)
  3. Line a strainer with 4 layers of
    cheesecloth; place over a bowl. Add half of the almond mixture; let sit 10 minutes, then squeeze out the liquid. Discard the solids; repeat with the rest of the almond mixture.

Almond Hot Chocolate

 

Try your delicious homemade almond milk in our tasty Almond Hot Chocolate!