Test Kitchen Tips

Technique Tuesday: Preserved Lemon

Written on April 15, 2014 at 10:00 am , by

A Moroccan pantry staple, preserved lemons are traditionally made by brining the whole fruit in lemon juice with plenty of salt. After a few weeks, the citrus becomes super soft and entirely edible. If you can’t find preserved lemons at a specialty-food store, you can make them at home. To get the same results in a fraction of the time, try our genius test kitchen shortcut from our recipe for Moroccan Lemon-Herb Chicken Skewers. Removing the peel from the lemon and cooking it in a salty solution re-creates the intense flavor and satiny texture of slow-cured preserves in just 10 minutes.

 

HOW-TO: In a small skillet, combine 1/4 cup thin lemon peel strips, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and simmer until the peel is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Tip: Use your preserved lemon to brighten up all sorts of dishes. Below are some of our suggestions.

MUDDLE with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, then top with some club soda for a sparkling preserved lemonade.

 

FINELY CHOP with fresh parsley and garlic and toss with EVOO and pasta or with roasted carrots.

 

WHISK with white wine vinegar, EVOO and a touch of honey for a vinaigrette. Toss with leafy greens or a three bean salad.

 

PUREE with room temperature butter in a food processor. Serve with hot rolls or put a pat on top of grilled fish.

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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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Technique Tuesday: Hash Brown Heaven!

Written on February 11, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

Buy a bag of frozen shredded spuds, then mix, pan-fry and top your way to the best-ever breakfast potatoes.

1. Lumberjack Special

Stir it in: chopped browned breakfast sausage

Top it off: butter, maple syrup

 

2. Spicy Ranchero

Stir it in: shredded pepper jack cheese, spicy salsa

Top it off: sour cream, chopped cilantro, squeeze of lime

 

3. Cheeseburger & Fries

Stir it in: browned ground beef, shredded yellow cheddar

Top it off: pickle slices, finely chopped onion

 

4. Veggie Confetti

Stir it in: shredded carrots, parsnips and beets, squeezed dry

Top it off: chopped fresh thyme, sage and parsley

 

5. French Onion

Stir it in: caramelized onions, chopped fresh thyme

Top it off: shredded gruyere

 

6. Everything but the Bagel

Stir it in: sliced red onion, capers

Top it off: sliced smoked salmon, cream cheese

 

By Nina Elder

 

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Thirsty Thursday: Wake Up Your Water!

Written on February 6, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

Six weeks into the new year, you may feel a little less motivated to stick to some of those New Year’s resolutions. But all it takes is some smart decision-making and a little bit of effort to make healthy food exciting again. What could be easier than water?! It’s something you drinking regularly anyway, so let’s give it a facelift. Here’s how to stay hydrated and healthy.

Instead of floating a few wan slices of cucumber or orange in your H2O, puree the produce with a little water, strain it and mix in some more water. The refreshing result, known as agua fresca, will taste like a liquid distillation of the ingredient. Try it with any fruit or vegetable you love. Hydration just got a whole lot tastier!

 

 

Agua Fresca Fiesta

 

2 cups diced cantaloupe, pineapple or English cucumber, or 2 cups whole raspberries or pomegranate seeds

6 cups cold filtered water

Ice, for serving

 

1. Place the fruit (or vegetable) in a blender with 2 cups water. Blend on low speed until finely chopped but not pureed.

2. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl; press on the solids. Transfer to a pitcher; add the remaining 4 cups water. Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top. Pour the drink into ice-filled glasses, and enjoy all day long!

 

By Tula Karras

 

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The Ultimate Scrambled Eggs

Written on January 28, 2014 at 10:58 am , by

 

In our brand new March issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, our Food Editor, Katie Barreira goes on a culinary journey to discover the ultimate recipe for scrambled eggs. She consults 12 of the world’s most renowned chefs for the best advice, from how high to heat the pan, to the perfect scrambling technique. Here are their results:

 

Wally Joe (chef, partner and general manager of ACRE restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee)

In an 8-inch nonstick pan, melt ½ tbsp. butter over medium-low heat. Crack 3 eggs into the pan and wait for them to set just slightly. Season with salt and pepper, then stir the eggs with a silicone spatula until they’re soft, creamy and not entirely cooked through, about 2 minutes.

 

Tom Colicchio (chef/owner of Craft restaurants, Heritage Steak and ’wichcraft, as well as the executive chef of Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, New York)

In a bowl, whisk 3 large eggs until foamy. In a round-bottomed chef’s pan, melt about 2 tbsp. butter over medium-low heat.  Add the eggs and whisk constantly until they start to cook, then switch to a silicone spatula. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Add a pat of butter and season with salt and pepper.

 

Michael Ruhlman (author, whose food reference books include The Elements of Cooking and Ruhlman’s Twenty. The second of his single-subject technique-focused cookbooks, Egg, comes out in April)

In a bowl, use a whisk, handheld mixer or immersion blender to whip 4 eggs until uniformly mixed and pale yellow in color. In a double boiler, melt 1 tbsp. butter. Add the eggs and ¼ to ½ tsp. salt. Using a silicone spatula, stir gently and continuously for 30 seconds. Then stir every few seconds until the first curds form, about 1 minute. Lift and fold the curds into the liquid egg in the bottom of the pan. Continue to fold and stir until the eggs are about two-thirds cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the top pan and stir until the curds appear to be sauced by the runny egg.

 

Anne Burrell (host of Worst Cooks in America on Food Network and is a best-selling author. Her second cookbook, Own Your Kitchen, was published in 2013)

In a bowl, using a fork, beat 4 eggs with 4 tsp. water and a healthy pinch of salt until it’s a homogeneous mixture. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp. EVOO over medium-low heat. Add the eggs and cook slowly, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula. Cook until eggs are no longer runny but still really soft.

 

Linton Hopkins (chef/owner of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch in Atlanta)

In a bowl, whisk 4 eggs with an honest pinch of salt. Add 2 tbsp. butter to a cold 8-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter foams but doesn’t brown, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and, using a wooden spatula, gently stir the eggs for about 30 seconds, making sure to scrape the edges and the bottom of the pan; this will ensure that the eggs do not cook too quickly from direct contact with the hot skillet. Then gently fold the eggs, creating big, soft curds. When the eggs are halfway cooked, about 1 minute, turn off the heat (this will prevent the eggs from overcooking and keep them moist), and continue folding until eggs are done to your liking. The total cook time should be 2 to 3 minutes.

 

Marc Murphy (chef-owner of Benchmarc Restaurants, which include Kingside, Landmarc and Ditch Plains in New York City, and he has appeared regularly as a judge on Chopped, Iron Chef America and other culinary shows)

In a bowl, season 6 eggs with 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper and a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese. Whisk until the whites and yolks are just blended. In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbsp. butter over low. Add the eggs to the skillet and, using a silicone spatula continuously stir eggs until just set, 4 to 6 minutes. About 1 minute before eggs are done, remove from heat so they don’t get too dry, and keep stirring for about 20 seconds.

 

Gordon Ramsay (Michelin-starred chef and owner of restaurants around the globe. He has five top-rated television shows that air in more than 200 countries and is the author of 27 books, including his autobiography, Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen)

Curious how the tough-talking Ramsay whips up his perfect scrambled eggs? Watch him in action right here.

 

Rachael Ray

Watch how our magazine’s leading lady scrambles up her flavor-packed eggs!

 

Michael Mina (award-winning chef and founder of the Mina Group, which has more than 20 restaurants across the United States)

In a bowl, whisk together 8 eggs. Add the eggs to the top of a double boiler set over boiling water. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir the eggs. Don’t be too aggressive—you want to let the eggs form into small curds as they cook. (You can add all sorts of fun ingredients during this stage, such as crème fraïche, chives, cheese, etc.). Cook the eggs until they’re soft and very moist, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with sea salt and pepper.

 

Frank McMahon (chef of Hank’s Seafood Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina)

In a bowl, whisk 6 eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, combine 2 tbsp. unsalted butter and 2 or 3 oz. whole milk over medium heat. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and immediately add the eggs, stirring to combine. As the eggs begin to set, use a silicone spatula to gently push the mixture back and forth using a snowplow-like motion to form fluffy egg mounds. Just before the eggs are completely set, remove the skillet from the heat. (The eggs will continue to cook off the heat.)

 

 Elizabeth Falkner (James Beard Award–nominee and executive chef at Corvo Bianco in New York City. Her second cookbook, Cooking Off the Clock, was published in 2012)

In a bowl, whisk 4 eggs, a pinch salt and 2 tbsp. heavy cream. Heat an 8- or 10-inch nonstick skillet over high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add 1 tbsp. butter and immediately turn the heat down to low. Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring with a silicone spatula for 15 to 20 seconds. Add 1 tbsp. butter, a few cranks of pepper and another pinch salt. Continue to cook for about 20 seconds, until the eggs are still runny, but are setting up on the edges. Remove from the heat and stir the eggs for another few seconds.

 

Ludo Lefebvre (chef and owner of awarding-winning restaurant Trois Mec in Los Angeles)

In a bowl, beat 4 eggs. Season with salt and pepper. In a small saucepan, melt ½ tbsp. butter over low heat. Add the eggs and, using a wooden spatula, stir constantly, using a figure-eight motion, until the eggs start to get a little thick, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. cold butter and stir until melted. (This will stop the cooking and add extra creaminess to the eggs.)

 

 

Technique Tuesday: Segment Your Citrus

Written on January 28, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

Lately, we’ve been giving you lots of reasons to enjoy a nice, juicy orange, lemon or grapefruit (it is citrus season, after all). But how do we make those fruit segments look so darn beautiful? You, too, can upgrade your fruit salads, cocktails and desserts by cutting your oranges and grapefruits into pretty segments (“supremes” in chef lingo). Here’s how:

 

1. Prep It

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

 

2. Pare It

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

 

3. Section It

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

 

4. Use It

in tons of delicious recipes, like the ones below!

 

Orange and Ice Cream Trifles

Tarragon Grapefruit Salad

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Technique Tuesday: Mellow Out Those Onions

Written on January 14, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

Raw red or white onions should be the perfect balance of sharp and sweet, but sometimes their natural pungency can take over a dish (not to mention your breath!). Tame the burn by submerging sliced onions in an ice-water bath for about 15 minutes, which will remove the harsh natural sulfurs from the cut surfaces. Drain and pat dry before using. Bonus: The refreshing dip crisps them up, too!

 

Here are a few ways to use your mellowed out onions:

 

Mixed into our brand-new recipe for Tarragon-Grapefruit Salad.

Pup ‘em on top of our Lemon Tilapia with Garlic-Parsley Couscous.

In our Guacamole Salad alongside Hot-or-Not Grilled Sliced Chicken with Cheesy Polenta.

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Fast Idea Friday: Cool it, Quick!

Written on January 3, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

To make a light, fluffy grain salad, you need cooled cooked grains. But letting them chill out in the pot or strainer will leave you with a clumpy, gummy mess. The solution is as close as your cupboard. Grab a baking sheet and save your salad this way:

 

1. Transfer drained, just-cooked grains to a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Using a spatula, spread the grains in an even layer. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes for 4 cups of grains. (For even quicker cooling, stick the pan in the refrigerator; it’ll take half the time.)

3. Use the cooled grains in all sorts of salads and side dishes, like our brand new Spinach Salad with Beets, Quinoa & Goat Cheese.

 

 

More quinoa recipes…

Green and Gold Quinoa Salad

Hearty Winter Veggie Pilaf

 

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Thirsty Thursday: Be a Fizz Whiz!

Written on January 2, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

It’s the day after New Years and if you bought a few too many bottles of bubbly, have no fear. While you’re more than welcome to mix champagne into Sparkling Bourbon Cocktails, Sparkling Negronis or Passion Fruit Fizz Sours, may we recommend you try something totally different by mixing it into sauces, sorbet and more! Try a few of our simple, sparkling ideas!

 

Vino-grette: Whisk equal parts leftover bubbly, OJ and EVOO with some grainy mustard, balsamic vinegar, sliced scallions and chopped basil. Season, then toss with greens.

 

Bubbly Cheese Fondue: In a saucepan, bring one part bubbly to a simmer and whisk in two parts shredded cheese until melted and smooth. Rub the inside of a fondue or other heavy-bottomed pot with a cut garlic clove. Transfer cheese mixture to the pot and season with ground nutmeg and salt. Serve with cubed bread.

 

Champ-pan Sauce: In a skillet, cook sliced onion in butter until translucent; add chicken and mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and add bubbly to the skillet. Stir in heavy cream, butter and chopped tarragon. Simmer until thickened; drizzle over chicken.

 

Spiked Sorbet: Make a simple syrup by boiling equal parts bubbly and sugar in a pan until reduced by half; refrigerate overnight. In a food processor, blend frozen berries and mangoes with a splash each bubbly and the simple syrup, scraping the bowl frequently. Freeze, stirring every 15 minutes, until firm.

 

Written by Daisha Cassel

 

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Technique Tuesday: Be Your Own Butcher

Written on December 31, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Save almost 40 percent by buying a whole chicken and using our easy instructions to break it down. Here’s how:

 

Step 1. With the breast side up, slice through the skin between the breast and each leg. Bend the legs back to pop out the joints. Cut through the joints to remove the legs.

Step 2. With the skin side down, slice along the white fat line in the legs to separate the thigh from the drumstick.

Step 3. Pull each wing away from the body; cut through the joint to remove.

Step 4. Flip the chicken over. Using kitchen shears, cut along either side of the backbone. (Toss or save for stock).

Step 5. With the skin side down, slice through the breastbone (you may need to use a chopping motion) to split the breast into two pieces.

Step 6. Use the chicken in all sorts of soups, casseroles and rice dishes, like our brand new Arroz Con Pollo recipe!

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