Dig in, Discover, and Cook
What’s a julienne peeler and do you need one in your kitchen to prep vegetables?
Julienne peelers are simple tools that can be used to cut rectangular strips called matchsticks from any firm vegetable or fruit, such as carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, daikon, papaya, beets, apples, and more. After we tested several models, our winner was the OXO Julienne Prep Y-Peeler, which met all our criteria: It quickly and smoothly cut crisp, neat, uniform matchsticks from a variety of produce with maximal ease and minimal waste. We also highly...
How to Pick a Great Watermelon
An ag-school melon expert weighs in on the tips that really work.
An Instant Pot makes quick work of cooking farro for this vibrant grain salad.
Our experience cooking rice and grains in the Instant Pot taught us the importance of using enough water for even cooking, adding a little oil to reduce starchy foam, and letting the pressure release naturally after cooking. The farro cooked so quickly under pressure that we found it was best to turn off the Instant Pot as soon as it came to pressure and let the cooking take place while it depressurized for 15 minutes. To make sure this salad looked as good as it tasted, we briefly blanched bite-size pieces of asparagus and snap peas in the hot cooking liquid before draining the farro. This brought out their vibrant color and crisp-tender bite. A lemon-herb dressing served as a complement to the earthy farro, while cherry tomatoes and feta cheese offered a fresh, full-flavored finish.
Pasta water is the secret ingredient in this simple dish's creamy, silky sauce.
The ingredient list for spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil) is a simple one. But versions we tried strayed from this dish’s humble roots. We wanted to create a creamy pasta according to the traditional method—without the addition of heavy cream or cheese, letting the pasta’s starches do the work of thickening the sauce for us. We started by lightly simmering equal parts garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan to soften the harshness of the garlic and to infuse the oil, waiting until the end to add pepper flakes to prevent burning. Reserving some of the cooking water before draining the pasta—which we removed just before it was fully cooked—allowed us to use the starchy water to create a silky sauce. We simply set the garlic oil, pasta water, and parcooked, drained pasta back overheat in the pasta cooking pot and stirred to create a full-bodied sauce while the pasta finished cooking through. As a final touch, we added 3tablespoons of parsley for color and vibrancy that melded cohesively with the other flavors.
Take advantage of strawberry season and make this creamy and rich strawberry mousse.
There’s a good reason that strawberry mousse recipes aren’t very prevalent: The berries contain lots of juice, which can ruin the texture of a mousse that should be creamy and rich. Plus, the fruit flavor produced by most strawberry mousse recipes is too subtle. We start by processing berries into small pieces and macerating them with sugar and a little salt. This causes them to release liquid, which we then reduce to a syrup before adding it to the mousse—a technique that not only limits the amount of moisture in the dessert but also concentrates the berry flavor. Then we fully puree the juiced berries, which contribute bright, fresh berry flavor. Finally, we choose our stabilizers carefully: gelatin for structure, and cream cheese, an unusual addition, for richer, creamier body.
Crispy at the edges. Chewy in the center. Bursting with toffee-like toasted coconut flavor.
For us, one of the most gratifying experiences as cooks is working with a completely new ingredient and coming up with something delicious. After discovering that store-bought coconut butter—a concentrated, jarred puree of dried coconut meat—could be slowly browned to produce a tahini-like paste with the intense flavors of toasted coconut and toffee, we knew we had to use it in a cookie. Here we achieve the crisp-chewy texture of a good sugar cookie and the toffee-like flavor of my favorite chocolate chip cookie. Without using butter. Or eggs. Or even vanilla. In fact, this vegan cookie contains only six ingredients (plus a little water). With very little to stand in its way, the browned coconut butter flavor is front and center. This cookie is craggy and crispy at the edges, chewy in the center, and bursting with toffee-like toasted coconut flavor.
How to Make Tiger Sauce, a Baltimore Classic with Real Bite
The perfect companion for Baltimore pit beef.
Slightly-softened zucchini contrasts with crispy Persian cucumbers in this refreshing salad.
This refreshing salad is a terrific way to use the squash cores and trimmings from our Kousa Mihshi (Lebanese Stuffed Squash) recipe, but it can also be made separately. Sautéing the zucchini briefly softened its texture and made a pleasing contrast to the crisp Persian cucumbers; refrigerating the zucchini halted the cooking, and draining it removed moisture that would have made the salad watery. Toasting the pine nuts deepened their nutty flavor. Lemon juice and sumac combined with olive oil made for a simple, bright-tasting dressing. Flake sea salt seasoned the salad and contributed another textural element to the mix.
This yeasted cheesy bread has big cheddar flavor and a lingering finish of zesty black pepper.
Its rusticity makes you want to tear it into generous chunks to dunk into a bowl of tomato soup. Making a bread this cheesy isn't as simple as just kneading the generous amount of shredded cheddar into the dough, because the fatty cheese will coat the gluten strands, preventing them from linking up into a strong network. To achieve a sturdy and flavorful crumb with pockets of melted cheese, knead just half of the cheese into the dough and then roll in the remaining cheese jelly roll–style before shaping the dough into a round loaf.
Ice cream distills complex culinary science into creamy magic. This recipe will get you churning.
Ice cream distills some of the most complex culinary science into cold, creamy magic, but it's actually simple to make yourself. Here's everything you need to know to get churning. Sweet cream ice cream is the most basic of ice cream flavors—it contains no vanilla and no eggs. Just milk, heavy cream, and sugar. To this classic trio, we add milk powder, corn syrup, and cornstarch for a creamy, smooth consistency.
Nothing quenches thirst better than a tall, ice-filled glass of the iconic summer staple, pink lemonade.
Instead of the store-bought powdered mix that is loaded with sugar, we wanted to re-create the characteristic color and flavor of pink lemonade using a less-processed sweetener. We chose vibrant red ripe strawberries to muddle with lemon slices and naturally produced honey. We used the method we developed for our infused waters here with great success: muddling the straw berries and honey with lemon (peel intact) to extract the oils and punch up the lemon flavor. The muddled mixture was then combined with water and infused before straining out the solids and combining it with freshly squeezed lemon juice and more water. The result is a pink delight, with sweetness provided by the fresh berries and honey and sourness coming from the lemon.
What Is Rao's "Sensitive" Marinara, and Does It Taste Good?
Cursed with stomach issues, I tried our winning jarred pasta sauce maker’s sensitive marinara. Was it worth its price tag?
Just say no to soggy, bland grilled zucchini.
Grilled zucchini often falls victim to both under-seasoning and overcooking. Try to address the former, by cutting the zucchini into thin planks that can be seasoned more thoroughly, you end up exacerbating the latter, as thinner pieces overcook in a flash. To achieve well-seasoned, crisp-tender zucchini, we ditched the planks, halved the zucchini lengthwise, and mixed up a brine. Seriously. Meat normally gets all the brining love, but a 45-minute soak in a saltwater solution produces incredibly well-seasoned zucchini. During brining, salt diffuses from an area of greater salt concentration (our 10-percent-salt brine) to an area of lesser concentration (our soon-to-be-delicious zucchini).
These crepes with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and pickled shallots are inspired by blini toppings.
Brittany, France, is famous for buckwheat crepes filled with savory ingredients. Once you've mastered them, it's easy to swap in other whole-grain flours. Our pairing of earthy rye crepes with a smoked salmon filling takes inspiration from blini toppings. Mixing crème fraîche with lemon, chives, and chopped capers made for a briny, bright topping to pair with rich smoked salmon. Quick-pickled shallots provided tang and crunch.
This Alabama restaurant favorite mixes Greek-inspired flavors with a few Southern sensibilities.
We found inspiration for this superflavorful Greek chicken at Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood, Alabama, where the menu reflects the chef’s Greek heritage and Alabama upbringing; read about our visit here. The chicken there is tender and juicy, marinated and roasted to perfection and flavored with tons of herbs and lemon. To re-create this simple yet complex-tasting dish for the home cook, we first tested our way to the perfect marinade: a blend of olive oil, fresh and dried herbs and spices, and lemon. To make sure the marinade penetrated past the surface of the chicken, we cut ½-inch-deep slashes in each piece. To achieve the lovely browning we remembered from the chicken at Johnny’s, we roasted our chicken at a relatively hot 425 degrees and gave it a blast of heat from the broiler at the end of cooking.
How to Take the Temperature of an Open Fire
Use your hand. But not how you think!
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